Vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that is considered safe and is used as a type of birth control with a close to 100% success rate. Some rough estimates talk about around 500,000 people getting vasectomies in the US every year, based on 2020 studies.
You should expect the average vasectomy to cost somewhere around $1,000, according to both Medicare and Planned Parenthood. Keep in mind that costs will usually vary depending on a few factors, like where you have the procedure and your insurance plan.
What is a vasectomy?
Vasectomy is one of the multitudes of birth control techniques and is used mostly by men. This is an outpatient medical procedure that shouldn’t last more than half an hour, in which the physician will seal or tie the tubes (tubal ligation) that are called vas deferens, carrying fluids from the testes. Although local anesthesia will usually be used, some patients might still experience some minor discomfort or pain for the following days after the procedure. This form of birth control is very effective and has an almost 100% success rate.
Although it is considered very safe, you should still not rely on vasectomy as the only form of birth control for the three months following the procedure. After about three weeks you can get some semen tests at your local urologist office or clinic to see whether it still contains sperm or not.
Although some people are afraid that vasectomies will impact their libido, this is hardly the case. The person will also keep their ability to reach completion of the act. The semen will just be devoid of sperm.
How much does a vasectomy cost?
The United States has an average of 500,000 men getting vasectomies every year, and over 1,500,000 men saying they think about getting one. But how much does a vasectomy cost?
The usual vasectomy will cost around $1,000 without insurance. This price will only include the vasectomy itself, without any additional expenses like deductibles, your copay, or other out-of-pocket insurance costs. There are vasectomy procedures that can easily go over the $3,000 price mark, according to Policy Genius, a popular insurance quote comparison site.
Among the factors that influence the cost are:
- There are a few different ways in which your physician can perform the vasectomy and each way will have a different price mark
- The location in which you’re getting a vasectomy may also influence the price (either the doctor’s office, clinic, hospital, etc)
- Your insurance provider
- Your insurance coverage
A survey that was taken recently in NYC and its vicinities has shown that most clinics may charge between $300 and $3,500 for this procedure, while a few others may even charge as much as $4,000 or $5,000.
Another example is the state of Texas, where you can get a vasectomy for prices that range from $400 to $5,000. If instead, you want to opt for the woman sterilization procedure, you need to know that experts give an estimated price that is 600% more than the cost of a vasectomy.
If you’re looking for a lower price, in New York, at the Manhattan Planned Parenthood clinic you can find two kinds of vasectomies one for $300 and one for $1,000, which will include a follow-up consultation. If, instead, you’re looking for something pricier, using the services of doctor Marc Goldstein M.D. at New York Well Cornell Medical center will cost you around $3,500 for the no-scalpel, no-needle procedure.
‘Traditional Vasectomies’ vs. ‘No Needle, No-Scalpel Vasectomies’
Each of the two types of vasectomies has its own procedure code. The first type, the traditional vasectomy will include anesthesia of the testicular sack, followed by an open-style procedure by making a direct incision on the side of the testicular sack. The doctor will have the option to tie, cur, or cauterize the vas deferens (this being the duct that connects the testicular area to the urethra), or he may even block it with implants or clips.
The second procedure, the vasectomy that uses no needle and no scalpel, is one in which the doctor will use a high-pressure jet injector for the anesthesia. Next, a tiny hole will be made in the testicular sack, using special items and not the normal scalpel for the incision, that will allow access to tie off or cut the vas deferens in a similar way as with the traditional vasectomy.
Usually, you won’t need general anesthesia for any of the two procedures, the vasectomies being typically outpatient. You can get this procedure done in a same-day surgery center, an outpatient clinic, or even in your doctor’s office.
Want To Know If Vasectomy Can Be Reversed? Here’s The Answer!
One provider, the well-known Dr. Bruce Gilbert from Great Neck, N.Y., performs an advancement over traditional methods where the needle is still used for the anesthetic to be delivered but no-scalpel will be used in the actual vasectomy procedure, a procedure called “no-scalpel vasectomy”.
He has an experience of over 22 years of vasectomies and over 1000 no-scalpel vasectomies performed. He said in an interview that 80% of the people that use his services are males looking to get a vasectomy as opposed to women looking for sterilization.
Factors For Deciding On This Form of Birth Control
Doctors seem split evenly around half performing no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomies, and the other half going for the traditional approach. So before actually booking an appointment for the procedure, spend some time thinking of what type of procedure you want to get.
If time is one of the factors that matter to you, you’ll be glad to know that recovery time is the same for both procedures, just one or two days to rest and a week with no stressful work or exercise. The time for the actual procedure is around 20 – 30 minutes for the incision vasectomy and even less for the other type of procedure.
For most men that will mean some couch time. Be on the lookout for promotions and discounts. One clinic was even offering a free pizza as a bonus to the procedure when we documented ourselves for this article.
Another aspect to remember is that pregnancy may still be possible after the vasectomy, so another couple of visits to the clinic for checkups will be the right decision, to be sure that you are sterile. Patients are usually advised that complete sterility will happen after 2-4 months or 24 ejaculations from the procedure. You should use contraception until the absence of sperm is confirmed in two different analyses. Expect an average cost of $75 per follow-up analysis, although you can find these follow-ups included in the price of the main package.
Although the vasectomy is known as being irreversible, a vasovasostomy will reconnect the vas deferens with a success rate of 84% to 99%. This procedure isn’t cheap and can take as many as 4 hours to be performed. Physicians will usually charge ten times more for a vasovasostomy than the price for a normal vasectomy, so at least $4,900.
Does insurance cover vasectomies?
Almost all private insurance companies will have plans to cover vasectomies in their plans, although some might choose to only cover the price of the vasectomy partially. Vasectomies are a form of birth control, used to prevent pregnancy, even though they aren’t on the list of the 10 health benefits that all insurers have to cover, like birth control methods for people that can get pregnant.
To see whether you are covered for this procedure, get in touch with your health insurance provider. And keep in mind that you might still have to pay out-of-pocket costs even if you are insured under a health plan that covers vasectomies. You should have no issues getting the funds needed for a vasectomy from a flexible spending account or a health saving account if you have any of those.
Before you go ahead and schedule a vasectomy, make sure you check the cost of the procedure done in a clinic, a doctor’s office, and a hospital, to see which approach would be cheaper.
Medicare considers vasectomies an elective procedure, so don’t expect to be covered if you’re under Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B.
Are vasectomies reversible?
Yes, vasectomy reversal is possible with a success rate of about 75%, as long as the reversal is done three years or less from the original procedure. This percentage goes down over time. Some studies say that only about 8% of people will get vasectomy reversals after having successful vasectomies.
The reversal procedure is more complex than the original procedure for vasectomy. The physician will have the hard job of reconnecting the tube that takes the semen out of the testes, with the help of surgical microscopes and stitches that can be even thinner than a strand of hair.
Although the surgery takes four times more than the original vasectomy, so roughly two hours, most people will have no issues going back to work in just a couple of days. If you’re putting a lot of effort physically at your job, then you might need three or even four days before you can go back to your normal activities.
When it comes to vasectomy reversals, most insurance providers won’t cover the costs of these procedures and they aren’t cheap either. Expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 to have a vasectomy reversed, according to the American Urological Association.