Men who have decided not to have children or have already completed their families often opt for a vasectomy, a form of permanent birth control. After a vasectomy, a surgical procedure, you can ejaculate semen, but it contains no sperm. Typically, vasectomy patients are older than 35 and already have at least two children. However, can you get a vasectomy at 18?
Key Vasectomy Takeaways
- A vasectomy entails a simple surgical procedure that provides a permanent form of birth control.
- You can reverse a vasectomy, but the process is expensive and requires invasive surgery.
- Some doctors may refuse to carry out a vasectomy unless you are an appropriate candidate (you are older or already have children) because they fear you may regret the decision later.
- You can freeze your sperm for use in the future should you change your mind.
- State laws on legal consent vary from 16 to 18, but no state will allow you to have a vasectomy before age 18. However, you must be at least 21 to have one at an agency funded by the federal state.
Can You Get a Vasectomy at 18?
People have several reasons why they may seek a vasectomy. Can you get a vasectomy at 18? Yes. At 18, you can have a vasectomy in any state of the U.S., but you may still encounter some obstacles because of your age.
What Does a Vasectomy Entail?
Since it is a form of permanent birth control, a vasectomy entails a surgical procedure to cut the supply of sperm to the semen.
Even though your testicles will continue producing sperm after the procedure, it can no longer enter the semen. The process does not affect your sexual function or health but prevents pregnancy in your partner.
The procedure lasts about 30 minutes and requires local anesthesia. Vasectomies provide the highest protection against pregnancy of all other contraceptive methods. In this article by the Mayo Clinic, you can read a more detailed description of what to expect.
Reasons For Getting a Vasectomy
One of the main reasons for having a vasectomy is to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, especially if you can’t or don’t want to use other forms of birth control.
Other reasons why people have a vasectomy include:
- When your partner cannot take certain birth control medications.
- When you want to lower the risk of an accidental pregnancy to the minimum by ensuring you ejaculate with no sperm.
- When you want a safer and less invasive birth control method than tubal ligation with fewer side effects, it entails tying the fallopian tubes to prevent the egg in a woman from reaching the uterus for fertilization.
- If you or your partner have an inheritable genetic disorder that you don’t want to risk passing on to your offspring.
Obstacles to Getting a Vasectomy at 18
At 18, you are old enough to get a vasectomy in any state of the U.S. Vasectomies are not allowed for people younger than 18, even in states where the age of consent is 16, because it is a permanent procedure that is often difficult and expensive to reverse.
However, even though you can get a vasectomy at 18, a doctor may refuse to perform the procedure for the following reasons:
- They believe you are unable to make an informed decision because of your young age
- They feel you may regret the decision later, wanting a reversal
- You may have underlying conditions that make it too risky to have the procedure
Remember: No law prohibits you from having a vasectomy from 18 and up. A doctor needs legal grounds to refuse the procedure. Otherwise, you can take legal action against them, like filing a malpractice suit.
When is the Ideal Age to Have a Vasectomy?
Healthline reports that according to the National Institutes of Health, people in their 20s who have had a vasectomy are more likely to seek a reversal than those from any other age group.
A vasectomy is life-altering. Subsequently, you must consider why you want one and its consequences. According to data provided by researchers, the typical age for having a vasectomy is about 35.
Reversing a Vasectomy
Reversing a vasectomy requires an outpatient procedure, commonly involving general anesthesia. Doctors will use one of two procedures to allow sperm to reflow into your semen. These are either a vasovasostomy (VV) or a epididymovasostomy (EV), and the doctor will consider the following factors before deciding which to perform:
- The quality of your seminal fluid
- Any presence of sperm in the semen
- Length of time since you had the original vasectomy (EV is the most common procedure for people when ten years have passed since the vasectomy)
The rates of sperm recovery range from 71 to 97%. Pregnancy rates are lower at between 30 and 76%. The longer you wait for a reversal, the lower the chances of success. Unfortunately, younger patients are more likely to seek reversals after a longer time.
Sperm freezing when considering a vasectomy is an excellent way to prevent you from seeking a vasectomy reversal. Considering that the quality and health of sperm start to decrease in your thirties, sperm freezing can help increase conception rates if you decide to have a child or grow your family later. There is a lower chance of conception when using frozen sperm because they have an 85% survival rate when thawed. However, artificial insemination using thawed semen instead of fresh semen is only slightly lower per cycle – 16% vs. 21%.
Can you get a vasectomy at 18? Yes, at 18, you are old enough to get a vasectomy legally. However, before deciding on the procedure, you must consider that it is permanent and reversals are complex. Some doctors may refuse to perform vasectomies on you at 18 unless you have a medical reason.
Each situation is different, but it’s always important to consider all the other options available for contraception that you and your partner can use.