A vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed as a method of birth control. It involves cutting the vas deferens (pronounced VAS DEF-uh-renz) in order to close off the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles (there is one vas deferens per testicle). If a man has a successful vasectomy, he can no longer get a woman pregnant.1
Sperm are made in the two testicles, which are inside the scrotum. Sperm is stored in a tube attached to each testicle called the epididymis (pronounced ep-i-DID-uh-mis). When a man ejaculates, the sperm travel from the epididymis, through the vas deferens, and then mix with seminal fluid to form semen. The semen then travels through the urethra (pronounced yoo-REE-thruh) and out the penis.
Before a vasectomy, semen contains sperm and seminal fluid. After a vasectomy, sperm are no longer in the semen.2 The man's testicles will make less sperm over time, and his body will harmlessly absorb any sperm that are made.3
- MedlinePlus. (2010). Vasectomy. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002995.htm
- American Urological Association Foundation. (2011). Vasectomy. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=53
- FamilyDoctor.org. (2010). Vasectomy: What to expect. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/sex-birth-control/birth-control/vasectomy-what-to-expect.html