Advertorial Content provided by Alere, Inc.
Making the choice to have a vasectomy is hard enough. Confirming that the operation was successful doesn’t need to be a difficult process too. After all, you and your partner have made a personal decision to implement a permanent birth control plan and you want to be sure that the procedure was effective.
Nearly 500,000 men have a vasectomy each year in the US. The operation is simple and is intended to make a man permanently sterile or unable to father a child. It is used as a primary means for contraception for many couples, especially later in life after they have already had children. It is estimated that one out of six American men over the age of 35 has gone through a vasectomy (1).
Physicians that perform the vasectomy may use small incisions or use a technique called a no-scalpel vasectomy. Regardless of technique, a vasectomy is a simple process that can be performed in a short amount of time. However, despite the simplicity of the procedure, it is important to know that sterilization is not immediate following the surgery. There is a chance that sperm may have traveled beyond the site of blockage created during the operation and are capable of surviving for several weeks in the seminal tract before being reabsorbed by the body. It is recommended to wait sixty days and then have a confirmatory test(s) performed to validate the success of the procedure before relying on it as the only method of birth control.
The standard practice for vasectomy confirmation testing is for men to return to their physician for an in-office test. However, statistics show that between 36-42% of men never return to perform follow up testing (2, 3). This is a shocking statistic, especially when combined with the fact that the vasectomy failure and re-canalization rate is approximately 0.4% (or 1 in 238) (4). After taking on the stress of making the decision to have the vasectomy and going through the surgical procedure, it is surprising that more men don’t follow through with the recommended confirmation testing. Their hesitance to return to their doctor is typically due to the embarrassment associated with providing a semen sample or simply because of the inconvenience or hassle to schedule the appointment.
Recently, new home tests have become available that allow men to take a confirmatory test in the privacy and convenience at home. They are available over-the-counter through online websites. Alere, Inc. provides a test called SpermCheck® Home Vasectomy Test that provides accurate results in just minutes.
The test works similarly to a home pregnancy test. A semen sample must be collected and placed on a test cassette and in seven minutes, results will be displayed in easy to read lines. If one line appears, that means that the test result is negative, indicating an extremely low sperm count below levels shown to present the risk of pregnancy. However, if two lines appear, this means that there is a still a risk of pregnancy with the levels of sperm found in the semen and another form of birth control message should also be used. A home test like this can also be used to test for re-canalization (the re-growth of the vas deferens) which can take place spontaneously even years following a vasectomy.
With new alternatives to in-office follow up testing, the likelihood that men will find out if their vasectomy has been successful will surely increase. The Alere SpermCheck® Vasectomy Test is one way to test in the comfort and privacy of home without having to endure the embarrassment or hassle of transporting a semen sample to the doctor or laboratory months after the procedure.
Eliminate the need for multiple and what can often be embarrassing follow-up lab tests with SpermCheck® Vasectomy. SpermCheck® Vasectomy Test is an easy-to-use, accurate test that you can take at home to test the success of your vasectomy.