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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

 

Understanding VasectomyEn qu© consiste la vasectom­a

Understanding Vasectomy

Vasectomy is a simple, safe procedure that makes a man sterile (unable to father a child). It is the most effective birth control method for men.

Your Reproductive System

For pregnancy to occur, a man's sperm (male reproductive cells) must join with a woman's egg. To understand how a vasectomy works, you need to know how sperm are produced, stored, and released by the body.

  • The urethra is the tube in the center of the penis. It transports both urine and semen. When you have an orgasm, semen is ejaculated out of the urethra.

  • The seminal vesicles and the prostate gland secrete fluids called semen. This sticky, white fluid helps nourish sperm and carry them along.

  • The epididymis is a coiled tube that holds the sperm while they mature.

  • The scrotum is a pouch of skin that contains the testes.

  • The testes are glands that produce sperm and male hormones.

  • The vas deferens are tubes that carry the sperm from the epididymis to the penis.

  • Sperm (shown magnified) carry genetic material.

Cutaway view of male reproductive systemCutaway view of male reproductive system

How a Vasectomy Works

During the procedure, the two vas deferens are cut and sealed off. This prevents sperm from traveling from the testes to the penis. It is the only change in your reproductive system. The testes still produce sperm. But since the sperm have nowhere to go, they die and are absorbed by your body. Only a very small amount of semen is made up of sperm. So after a vasectomy, your semen won't look or feel any different.

Keep In Mind:

After a vasectomy, some active sperm still remain in the reproductive system. It will take about 3 months and numerous ejaculations before the semen is completely free of sperm. Until then, you'll need to use another form of birth control.

 

Publication Source: Engender Health

Publication Source: Information & Knowledge for Optimal Health (INFO) Project. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Publication Source: Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Online Source: Engender Health

Online Source: Information & Knowledge for Optimal Health (INFO) Project. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Online Source: Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2007-10-23T00:00:00-06:00

  

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