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What Every Man Should Know Before Having a Vasectomy

If It Works, Don't Fix It!

Many men have experienced significant problems, complications, and pain following their vasectomies, which has resulted in substantial effects on their health and their lives. Often, the possibility of these types of problems was not disclosed beforehand, despite decades of research in medical literature demonstrating numerous complications. This can lead to a desperate, painful, and lonely situation for a man and his family.

This web site is dedicated to sharing factual information about men's experience with vasectomy and the consequences of the procedure. Hopefully, this resource will help to shed light on this little-discussed issue for the benefit of men, their families, and the medical and other professionals who wish to help them.

Kevin Hauber
Author of 'If It Works, Don't Fix It: What Every Man Should Know Before Having A Vasectomy'

Family physicians should be aware of the potential effects and complications of vasectomy so they can appropriately counsel patients seeking sterilization. Vasectomy produces anatomic, hormonal and immunological changes and... has been reputed to be associated with atherosclerosis, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and urolithiasis [kidney stones]. Complications of vasectomy include overt failure, occasional sperm in the ejaculate, hematoma, bleeding, infection, sperm granuloma, congestive epididymitis [post-vasectomy pain syndrome], antisperm antibody formation and psychogenic impotence.

Complication of Vasectomy, by Dr. R. F. Raspa, the Journal of the American Family Physician, 1993.

Kevin Hauber's odyssey of suffering after having a vasectomy reinforces the concern repeatedly expressed in my publications over the last quarter century about potential severe consequences stemming from failure of men to receive proper informed consent about the risks. In view of the magnitude of vasectomania, it would be a disservice for physicians and public health officials to ignore his experience and that of many others on the grounds they are "just anecdotes."

H. J. Roberts, M.D., FACP
Author of "Is Vasectomy Worth the Risk? A Physicians Case Against Vasectomania"


Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

Important Quotes Regarding Vasectomy
Let's Cut to the Chase (PDF file - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Problems With The Quick Fix (PDF file - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Post-Vasectomy Treatment Options (PDF file - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


Check out the CBS Special Assignment: "Risks Of Vasectomy"

Click to view CBS Special Assignment: "Risks Of Vasectomy"

Check out the article in USA Today!
Check out the cover story of the local New Times paper!
Feb. 8, 2001 Cover of New Times


What Happens to a Man’s Body After Vasectomy?
By Kevin C. Hauber

How does vasectomy affect a man’s body?  This is a reasonable question, which unfortunately is rarely answered, even after significant effects occur. 

Let’s use an analogy of a 40-year-old fire hose.  You hook this fire hose up to a hydrant and turn on the water.  Let the hose represent the epididymis portion of the testicles and the vas deferens, which would measure some 20 feet in length if stretched out, and let the water represent the 50,000 sperm cells a minute that a man’s body manufactures, even after vasectomy. 

Now, tie a knot in the fire hose.  What happens?  Something is going to rupture, right?  That’s why fire departments don’t use 40-year-old fire hoses, and why men develop ruptures in their testicles after their vas is tied off during the vasectomy procedure.


Actually, the technical term for this phenomena is a “blowout.”  According to Campbell’s Urology (a textbook for urology students and doctors) “The brunt of pressure-induced damage after vasectomy falls on the epididymis and efferent ductules…. It is likely that, in time, all vasectomized men develop ‘blowouts’ in either the epididymis or efferent ducts.”  I wish I had known this before I had my vasectomy and started experiencing some of the negative effects of that rupturing process. 

Autoimmune Responses 

But that’s not all.  When the rupturing occurs, sperm cells enter the blood stream, where they were not naturally intended to be.  As a matter of fact, nature makes a very specific point of keeping sperm cells out of the blood stream, because sperm cells have very strong enzymes on their surfaces and only half a DNA strand.  What does the body think is happening?  The immune system is sent on full alert to fight off a perceived infection, and the body becomes “autoimmune”, i.e. the body goes to war on itself.  Again from Campbell’s Urology: “Vasectomy results in violation of the blood-testis barrier producing detectable levels of serum antisperm antibodies in 60 to 80 per cent of men….”  Once this reaction starts, it is difficult to stop, even with a vasectomy reversal.  It would have been good to know this also before it began happening in me. 

Why is this autoimmune response important?  Well, numerous reactions have been identified as part of this autoimmune response.  Cysts of various sorts begin to form in the scrotum.  In about three men out of five, a sperm granuloma forms at the rupture site, and may need to be removed surgically to alleviate painful symptoms.  Other types of cysts often form in the epididymis and/or the scrotum including spermatoceles and hydroceles, which may also require further treatment or lead to other problems.  The autoimmune response that follows vasectomy has also been linked to an increase in the incidence of numerous diseases by dozens of studies.  These diseases include testicular dysfunction and hormonal imbalances, recurrent infections, various forms of cancer, and other immune system deficiencies.  According to Dr. H. J. Roberts, an internist who has studied the effects of vasectomy on the immune system for over 30 years, “ no other operation performed on humans even approaches the degree and duration of the multiple immunologic responses that occur in the post-vasectomy state.” 

Pain and Injury

 Problems during the procedure itself often cause damage to testicular blood and nerve supplies, and also commonly cause damage to delicate lymph vessels.  Chronic testicular pain is an often undisclosed and potentially debilitating result of vasectomy.  Unfortunately, I can speak to this issue firsthand also, having endured more than a year and a half of chronic pain since my original vasectomy.  Urologists tend to play this aspect down, but if you read the literature, you will find a significant incidence of chronic pain resulting from the kinds of reactions discussed thus far.  In surveys that asked patients about their post-vasectomy experience, up to a third of vasectomized men complained of chronic testicular pain of varying degrees.  Some, like myself, have sought further medical treatment, and even surgery in an attempt to resolve this painful situation. 

The Bottom Line 

If you feel that this is a rare occurrence, I invite you to visit the forum and reference sections of the web site at www.dontfixit.org and see for yourself.  And if you think that the negative effects of surgical sterilization are restricted to men, I invite you to see the web site posted by the Coalition for Post-Tubal Women at www.tubal.org.  Both of these sites will provide a real eye-opening experience. 

The bottom line is that it is much better and easier to make minor adaptations in your sexual practices than it is to alter your body surgically.  Condoms and other forms of barrier-type contraceptives are something we all need to become more comfortable with and proficient at using, even in long-term, monogamous relationships.  Contraception and population control are important issues on many levels.  But preserving the health of the living is an issue that needs to take precedence in this situation.  Telling the truth about the consequences of vasectomy and other forms of surgical sterilization are of critical importance to the individual in the decision making process about contraceptive choices. 


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©2001-2006 Kevin C. Hauber