Last month, we published a post emphasizing the importance of using contraception even after a vasectomy, as patients are NOT completely sterile immediately following the procedure. Because “a series of follow-up tests is required to first confirm that sperm are no longer present in the patient’s semen,” using some form of birth control in the first few months post-surgery is strongly advised.
However, a study conducted within the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) found that over half of the study’s couples (57.8%) did NOT use secondary contraception after undergoing a vasectomy postpartum. All couples had recently given birth and had reported a partner vasectomy four months following the live birth. Conducted in 15 states and New York City, the study assessed both the election of post-vasectomy birth control and the method of birth control used.
Essentially, this means that the 57.8% of couples who chose not to use secondary contraception relied solely on the vasectomy itself as their birth control method. Of the remaining 42.4% who opted for secondary contraception, 50% used condoms, 26.5% used oral contraceptive pills, and 9.5% chose the withdrawal method.
Based on these results, it seems that doctors and clinics need to better communicate to patients the necessity of secondary contraception in the months immediately following a vasectomy. In order to reduce the chance of unintended pregnancy, it is also important to understand the complexities surrounding why some couples choose not to use secondary contraception, despite being advised to.