Vasectomies are a safe and effective form of contraception for men and fears that they may contribute to cancer are unfounded, according to research.
A vasectomy is a common form of contraception in many countries and involves a surgical procedure to cut the supply of sperm to the penis by blocking the tube (vas deferens) through which sperm normally passes from each testicle.
“Before getting a vasectomy, men must be certain they don’t want to father a child in the future,” said Dr Odion Aire from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria.
Aire said a vasectomy is generally simple to perform, safe and won’t negatively affect sex drive.
Vasectomies were previously thought to be associated with a small increased risk of prostate cancer but a study of over 3 million men, the largest of its kind, has shown that a vasectomy won’t increase prostate cancer risk.
“This review found no association between vasectomy and high-grade, advanced-stage, or fatal prostate cancer,” the study by US and Canadian researchers found.
Aire, a urologist, said vasectomies were one of the best forms of birth control after abstinence, with a success rate of over 99%. He said modern surgical methods could take around 30 minutes and may involve the "no-scalpel" method, whereby a puncture is made through the scrotum. Tubes are then accessed without having to make an incision.
Alternatively, a scalpel may be used to make one or two small incisions for access points through which the procedure is performed.
“A vasectomy is a routine and quick procedure and generally does not require an overnight stay,” he said, adding that the procedure can be reversed but the surgery is a little more complicated than the vasectomy.