A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that involves blocking or severing a man’s vasa deferentia, the tubes that carry sperm, to prevent the release of sperm. This form of birth control is generally considered permanent, though the procedure can be reversed. The Mayo Clinic estimates that fewer than two out of 1,000 vasectomy procedures result in pregnancy, making the procedure’s effectiveness greater than 99 percent.
According to Planned Parenthood, a vasectomy typically costs between $350 and $1,000. This figure includes the follow-up sperm analyses. Much of the variation in vasectomy costs depend on the type of insurance coverage you have and your geographical location. While vasectomies are not cheap, they are six times less expensive than sterilization for women, also known as tubal ligation. Vasectomy is covered by Medicaid in most states.
A vasectomy can be performed either with an incision or without an incision. The incision method involves a local anesthetic followed by two small incisions on both sides of the scrotum or one single incision in the center. The doctor is able to reach the two vas deferens through the incision and tie, cauterize or block them with surgical clips. In the no-incision, or no-scalpel, method, the doctor reaches the vasa deferentia through two small punctures in the scrotum, resulting in no stitches and no scarring.
Because a vasectomy is considered minor surgery, it is much less expensive than tubal ligation (female sterilization) or a reverse vasectomy. In fact, the procedure generally takes about 30 minutes or less and can be performed in your doctor’s office. Typically included in the cost is the initial consultation, in which your doctor will examine you to make sure that a vasectomy is right for you, and follow-up semen analyses to ensure that there is no sperm in your semen.
The most common side effect with vasectomy is infection, though this is rare, especially with the no-incision procedure. Signs of infection include fever, swelling, or oozing pus from the site of the incision. The infection will typically clear up after taking antibiotics, which can cost between $5 and $50, according to a report published by the University of California, San Francisco. Most other potential side effects, like bruising, hydroceles and granuloma, usually clear up on their own within a few weeks.
A vasectomy reversal is a more complicated procedure than a vasectomy and requires a lengthier operation as well as an appropriate anesthetic. The Vasectomy Medical website estimates that a vasectomy reversal can cost between $4,000 and $20,000 and is not usually covered by insurance. About half of the cost is for the surgeon’s fee. The rest of the charge is for the anesthetic fee and the hospital fee, each of which can range from $2,500 and $5,000.