vasectomy

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

vasectomy

vasectomy, male sterilization by surgical excision of the vas deferens, the thin duct that carries sperm cells from the testicles to the prostate and the penis. Vasectomy is a popular method of birth control: in 1983, figures showed that approximately 10 million men had been sterilized in the U.S. since 1969. Excision of the vas deferens is a minor surgical procedure that can be performed in a physician's office in less than half an hour. A small incision is made on one side of the scrotum (the external sac housing the testes) and the vas deferens is located, cut, and the ends tied off. The incision is closed and the procedure is repeated on the other side. After surgery, it is necessary to wait until a negative sperm count is obtained before discarding other means of contraception, because viable sperm cells are retained in the seminal vesicles (the pair of storage pouches where sperm is mixed with other components of semen) and along the various sperm ducts. In addition it is usually advised that the patient be reexamined after a year, because the severed ends of the vas deferens occasionally reknit. Sterility resulting from vasectomy is considered to be permanent, and attempts at surgically reversing vasectomy, called vasovasotomy, have had limited success. In India, where the government is trying to stem the tide of overpopulation, money is paid to men who submit to voluntary vasectomy. Efforts to overcome the irreversibility of vasectomy have also led to experimentation with the implantation of faucetlike devices that can be made to open or close the sperm duct in a simple operation. Such devices have functioned successfully in animals but are still considered experimental in humans because of their unproved reversibility, high cost, and the degree of surgical skill needed to implant them. Another option suggested to those undergoing vasectomy is to preserve their fertility by depositing semen in sperm banks. Such semen samples are frozen in liquid nitrogen below -300°F (-185°F) and are considered to be viable for an indefinite period. However, there is considerable debate over the scientific and ethical aspects of sperm freezing, and the practice is still considered experimental. Researchers have examined the possible negative physiological effects of vasectomy, but there is no conclusive evidence that any link exists between the procedure and disease.

See S. D. Mumford, Vasectomy: The Decision-Making Process (1978); G. Denniston, Understanding Vasectomy (1978).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

vasectomy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.