Condoms vs Vasectomy

Long time, monogamous and married couples have struggled with this question for quite a few years now. What will be the best contraception option for them, condoms or a vasectomy?

They both have a number of benefits and advantages. This is not an easy question to answer, so let’s look at the benefits and risks of both and you can decide for yourself.

Benefits & Advantages of Condoms

Condoms have been around for many years and they are very effective when used correctly. A condom is relatively low cost, and a box can be had for just $5 to $10 typically.

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In fact, you can get condoms at discount retailers and warehouse superstores in larger boxes and in bulk. You can get boxes of 40, 50, even up to 100 condoms.

A major benefit to condoms for the woman is that condoms don’t have any effect on the hormones like the pill does.

Condoms also offer protection from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis. This is something to think about should it be possible that one of the partners stray from the relationship.
Condoms are also relatively easy to use and very easily disposable.

Benefits & Advantages of Vasectomy

A vasectomy is more effective in preventing pregnancy than a condom. Since a vasectomy surgically blocks the tubes that carry the sperm, it effectively sterilizes the man. Ejaculation still occurs, but no sperm is included.

A vasectomy is a common procedure and is generally done on an outpatient basis. The cost of the procedure can vary, but it is usually $600 to $1000 depending on your location and experience of the doctor. Some clinics may offer low cost vasectomy options.
Vasectomy diagram*:
Vasectomy diagram

A major advantage to a vasectomy is that the woman no longer needs to worry about taking a certain pill every day or buying other contraception.

In fact, the woman no longer needs to worry about any type of contraception at all. Therefore there is no worry about anything affecting sex drive, libido or sexual pleasure, unlike with the pill or many other contraception methods.

Condom Risks & Disadvantages

A condom must be used every time you have sex to be effective. This can be an annoyance to some couples. When you get in the mood, you may not want to take the time to put on a condom. Though some couples add the condom opening and placement into their sexual routine making it a part of the pleasure.

There is little risk with using a condom. Some couples may have a latex allergy however, and in these cases, condoms made of other materials can be considered.

Condoms are not 100% effective against pregnancy; they generally have a very high effectiveness when used correctly though, at up to 98% [1].

Vasectomy Risks & Disadvantages

Since the vasectomy is a surgical procedure, there are typical surgical risks involved, including possible bleeding, blood clots, inflammation, swelling, bruising, infection and reactions to medications or anesthesia.

However, the surgery is one of the more popular surgeries that are performed and is generally thought of as safe when you are in capable and experienced hands [2].

Generally, a vasectomy has a failure rate of less than 1%. WebMD says that about 1 in 1000 vasectomies fail when done by an experienced doctor who specializes in the procedure.

However, the failure rate is much higher when done by a doctor who has less than 50 surgeries under his belt, even as high as a 17% failure rate.

A vasectomy is reversible, but it isn’t very easy and not always possible. Couples should also keep in mind that a vasectomy offers no protection from anything other than pregnancy. Sexually transmitted diseases are not affected by a vasectomy [3].

This is something to keep in mind, especially if the couple should break up in the future. If the couple is sure they don’t want any more children, a vasectomy is a great option, however, people do change their minds, and circumstances do change.

A vasectomy can offer great peace of mind to a couple who is secure in their relationship. However, if there are any doubts at all, condoms are probably the better choice.

*Photo credit:
– Author: K.D. Schroeder
– graphic name.svg from Wikimedia Commons
– License: CC-BY-SA 3.0



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