Is Vasectomy the New Condom?
Ok, so I pulled the trigger and officially called a vasectomy the “new condom” in the press. Sounds crazy, eh? Of course, a vasectomy doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases like a condom. But, when it comes to fertility, vasectomies are more reversible than previously thought.
Reversal Research Results
Here’s the simple reason why I equated condoms to vasectomies: we have now reached the tipping point in which the failure rate of condoms (i.e. unwanted pregnancy rate) is now the same or higher than the failure rate of vasectomies (to be successfully reversed).
Honestly, the epiphany came after reviewing the findings from our recently published series of over 1200 vasectomy reversal patients. Here are the stats surrounding the men we studied: they averaged almost 42 years old (range 22–72 years) and had a mean vasectomy age of 10 years (range 1–38 years!). Regardless of patient age or vasectomy age, we found that sperm counts were maintained at about the same high levels after reversal. Yup, 84% of all men, across any and all vasectomy ages in the study, had motile ejaculated sperm return after reversal. That’s a lotta sperm in a lotta men!
Mano-a-Mano: Vasectomy and Condom
Did I overextend myself (again) by comparing a vasectomy to condoms? I really don’t mean to be a disruptor! So, decide for yourself. Here is a simple, head to head comparison to see if the facts fit the assertion:
Salient Feature Condom Vasectomy
Failure rate 20% (real world) <1%
Quality of sex life Low High (except after procedures)
Reversibility 100% 75-99% (see the paper)
No Glove, No Love
Even if you have never experienced them, trust me when I say that condoms are an annoyance to many men. Who really enjoys stopping a most delightful and cherished activity to cloak the joker or don the jimmy hat? And who, if anyone, has ever measured the effect of condom use on sexual quality of life? Compare that to a vasectomy: A weekend popping pills and wearing frozen peas and then all is well again. No muss, no fuss. And far more kid-proof.
So, for a moment, let’s celebrate the vasectomy…and its reversibility. For it’s not as simple as “all good things must come to an end.” Its really about things coming to an end exactly when you want them to.