How can you tell if a man has had a vasectomy?

Are you getting a vasectomy?
Plan ahead and get some cold packs on Amazon and a 3 pack of jock straps for a comfortable post-surgery recovery!

When a woman begins seeing a man who claims to have had a vasectomy, she may wish to verify this by looking for a scar or other evidence of the procedure.

It’s natural to assume that locating an incision or detecting abnormalities in a man’s ejaculatory fluid can provide clues as to whether a man has had a vasectomy. In reality, finding physical proof of a vasectomy is extremely difficult.

This article discusses the changes that a man experiences (or doesn’t experience) after a vasectomy, but the bottom line is that the only way to tell if a man has had a vasectomy is with a sperm count performed by a qualified lab.

Vasectomy scarring

A vasectomy does indeed leave one or more scars, but they are often very small and can be nearly impossible to see once the incisions have fully healed.

Further complicating things is that fact that a man’s scrotal skin is wrinkly and often covered with hair. As the scar fades over time it can easily blend in to the natural bumps and creases of his anatomy.

Even under ideal examination conditions it can be very difficult to locate a man’s vasectomy scar, which means spotting evidence of a vasectomy can be nearly impossible during normal couple interactions. A quick visit to our vasectomy pictures section (NSFW) will demonstrate how hard it can be to see a fully healed vasectomy scar.

This means that simply looking for a scar is not a reliable way to verify if a man has had a vasectomy.

The different kinds of vasectomy scarring

Many people don’t realize that doctors use several different methods to perform vasectomies. These varying techniques leave scars in different locations, and the scars can be more or less noticeable depending on the method.

Traditional vasectomies involve making two incisions along either side of the scrotum. These incisions are small, and their position will vary depending on the doctor performing the procedure. The scars caused by this type of operation are probably the easiest to spot of all the different vasectomy methods, but over time the scars will fade and become more difficult to see.

Some doctors perform a vasectomy with a single incision along the midline or “seam” of the scrotum, also known as the raphe. Since the scars left by this type of vasectomy fall on the scrotum’s central ridge, they are practically invisible once healed.

Another popular technique is known as the no-scalpel vasectomy. This operation is performed with a sharp pair of forceps that puncture the scrotal skin rather than slicing it open. This form of vasectomy leaves almost no visible scarring once healed.

Changes in ejaculate

While the composition of a man’s ejaculate will change after a vasectomy, it is more or less impossible to notice the difference through sight, touch, taste, etc.

The only change in a man’s semen after a vasectomy is the lack of sperm. Since sperm account for no more than 2% to 5% of the total volume of a man’s ejaculate, this change is not noticeable under casual circumstances.

Semen analysis is the only way to tell

The only way to be 100% certain a man has had a successful vasectomy is by having a semen analysis performed by a laboratory.

A lab-verified sperm count of zero means the man is not fertile and has definitely had a vasectomy. A non-zero result means one of two things:

  1. The man did not have a vasectomy.
  2. The man had a vasectomy, but it failed.

A surprisingly large percentage of men (40% to 50%) never return for a post-vasectomy sperm count. Without the “all clear” from the doctor it’s impossible to be sure that the operation was a success.

The risks of vasectomy failure

Although uncommon, it is possible for vasectomies to fail.

If a man can produce evidence of a sperm count or if you trust that he has done the necessary follow up testing, then this may be sufficient. However, it is still possible for a vasectomy to fail years after the operation, which is why an current sperm count is a good idea.

As mentioned previously, many men never go back for a post-vasectomy semen analysis. While the success rates of vasectomy are very high, there’s simply no way to be sure until the sperm count results are in.

Another issue is that vasectomies can naturally reverse themselves through a process known as recanalization. Recanalization allows sperm to travel between the cut ends of the vas deferens (sperm tubes), although the sperm count is often greatly reduced from pre-vasectomy levels.

Vasectomy failure is very uncommon, but unless a man has had a relatively recent test verifying his sperm count is zero there is an outside chance he can still father a child.

For more on this topic, see our articles on pregnancy after vasectomy and vasectomy failure rates.

Comments

  1. if i have sex with my husband and save some of the semen injected in me, can i use that semen, for testing? he will not tell me. so i have no way of knowing if he did. i have a feeling that he is seeing somebody and am not able to get him to tell me. he did tell me that he had been with a friend of mine one time. it’s been 10 months since this first happened. he did ask me for a divorce, later he did change his mind. he has lived here off and on. here lately he has been here for about a month, but i have not pushed the issue either. i am afraid to lose him but i feel he has done nothing but lye and lye again about alot of things. he is always broke and he does not time for us, like he use to. his attitude has changed alot and he feels more confident about himself. i feel the woman that he is seeing, has made him feel like a new man and i can’t seem to get him to tell me about it. but i know that his semen is different and i feel his sex is not like it use to be either. i do still enjoy having sex with him but to me it’s a whole different ballgame! we have 2 boys that are teenagers and now that they really need him, he is not around and he has never really been proud of them, like i feel a father should be. please tell me what signs to look for. i need some answers so bad and he isn’t helping any. what i wanted to know is, if we have sex, can he injects sperm in me, can i save that sperm to determine if he did have a vasectomy? i just want to clear my conscience about it. how can i save some of that sperm? some times it is alot and watery, also, it is clear. i use to have an odor also and that has also stopped. i use to get vaginal infections alot and since we have been together, i have not had an infection. could that tell me something? he is 48 and i also notice that his intesticals do not hang. they are right on him and his whole area looks very clean. he shaves regularly and his parts are really looking young. he is taking viagra, because at one time he started having problems, he said it was my fault. he said he lost him manhood because his wife(me) did not give him enough sex. could viagra make his sperm change. i have seen him take it. also it he has to take viagra for us, will he have to take it when he is in bed with someone elso also? sometimes i feel that i don’t turn him on, but it may be because he is still seeing that other. i have read that alot of men go through that. like i wrote he blames me for losing him manhood, but i have read that happens to alot of men. especially that old. maybe i do need a new man in my life anyway but for my family, i would rather have him.

  2. You need to get rid of that loser!!!!!!!!!! Find someone who derserves you and don’t settle for this dirt bag!!

  3. geez, i think if you have to worry about that many things, you should dump the guy. No one is worth the loss of your sanity. Consider this: If you are asking this many questions about your man, then you are probably willing to accept many excuses to cover for him also. I’m sorry this answer may come at the cost of your husband, but if you really examine what you have just asked, you will probably realize that you KNOW and have all of the answers you need.

  4. wtf does a vasectomy have to do with any of those problems that you mentioned. Please lady quit making up bullshit. Thanks.

  5. My husband told me that he had a vasectomy 3 years ago but he keeps having me take pregnancy tests if/when I’m late. He’s never lied to me and I believe he may have misunderstood or forgotten what he was told about the reversal process. He seems to think a vasectomy just wears off. I understand that for some men this might actually happen but it isn’t meant to and if you want a reversal, you actually have to go to the doctor and have it reversed. So my question is, how do I find out if my husband really did have a vasectomy and is there such a thing as a self-reversing vasectomy?
    Thanks.

  6. Look, in all honesty, debating whether or not your husband has had a vasectomy should be the last worry on your list! I can completely relate to your situation, being in love with one who simply does not love you back…but a man with a history of child neglection and a previous affair with a FRIEND of yours clearly has no respect for you whatsoever, and with the amount of respect you give yourself, why should he! You need to realize your worth and walk away from the relationship. It would be the most difficult, yet most rewarding relationship you could ever make, not only for you but for your children. Find a man who deserves you AND your boys’ time.

  7. YEAH, I AGREE THAT SHOULD BE THE LAST WORRY ON UR LIST ALSO, BUT IF U ARE IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE, AND U WANT TO HAVE A CHILD WITH THIS PERSON, THAN I STRONGLY AGREE THAT UR SIGNIFICANT OTHER NEEDS TO BE ALL THE WAY HONEST WITH U ABOUT SOMETHIN THAT SERIOUS. IF U REALLY LOVE THE PERSON THAN IF HR DID HAVE ONE DONE, IT REALLY SHOULDNT MATTER, U WILL STAY WITH HIM, AND LOVE JUS THE SAME AS U DID. HELL GET A DOG, CAT OR EVEN A FERRIT, LOVE IT TOGETHER AS IF IT WAS A CHILD OF UR OWN.. ANIMALS NEED LOVE 2 DAMN IT…..

  8. OMG I couldn’t finish reading that novel
    It’s a Maury Povich show What does a vasectomy have to do with that
    She should be glad if he did as to not have kids with her friend
    What a Loser. Him too

  9. hi my hubby has a vasectomy bout 5 years ago. the amount of sperm he produce after the op lower and has always been a lot less from before op but this month we both have noticed that its changed again and hes started to produce more sperm again should we worry and get him tested again or not….

  10. Man, are u serious? That book was long winded has nothin to do with a versectomy waisted my time ready it. Like really like the first comment said lose that dirt bag you have to love yourself first you dnt want to fall apart over a man a douchebag at that.

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