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Alternatives

Vasectomy, while highly effective, is also relatively final. The following chart is offered as a comparison of the alternatives.

Method Used by Theoretical*
Failure Rate
Actual**
Failure Rate
Advantages Disadvantages
Vasectomy Man .02-0.1% .02-0.2% Very high effectiveness; no cumbersome methods to use before or during intercourse
 
Should be considered permanent; some risk of infection
Tubal Ligation ("tying off tubes") Woman 0.2% 0.2-0.4% Comparable in effectiveness to vasectomy More expensive and complicated than vasectomy with higher surgical risk
 
Birth Control Pill (combination) Woman 0.1% .16-3% High success rate; no loss of sensation; other established health benefits
  
Side effects can be significant
Method Used by Theoretical*
Failure Rate
Actual**
Failure Rate
Advantages Disadvantages
Condom Man 1-3% 1-33% No side effects; adds protection from sexually transmitted diseases Reduced sensation; risk of pregnancy if not used correctly; application cumbersome
  
Diaphragm Woman 1-6% 1-21% No loss of sensation Prescription required; application cumbersome
 
Spermicidal jelly, foam, cream or suppositories Woman 3% 13-28% No serious side effects or loss of sensation; prescription not required
 
Cumbersome; lower effectiveness
Method Used by Theoretical*
Failure Rate
Actual**
Failure Rate
Advantages Disadvantages
Hormonal Implants Woman .2% .2% High effectiveness; one implant lasts up to 5 years Requires surgical insertion and removal; irregular vaginal bleeding
  
Intrauterine device (IUD) Woman 0.6-1.5% 0.5-3% One-time application; high success rate; no loss of sensation
 
Prescription required; some side effects
Natural family planning ("rhythm method") Both partners 1-3% 14-47% Nothing to buy or apply Requires abstention for 5-15 days per month; high risk of pregnancy
  
Withdrawal Man 4% 19% Nothing to buy or apply Reduced satisfaction; high risk of pregnancy
  
No Method Both partners 85% 85% Nothing to buy or apply Play now, pay later
  

*Theoretical Rate signifies rate when method is used correctly over a one year period.

**Actual Rate signifies rate when method is used routinely over a one year period.

Adapted from:
1. Trussell J, Hatcher RA, Cates W, Stewart FH, Kost K. A Guide to Interpreting Contraceptive Efficacy Studies. Obstetrics and Gynecology 1990; 76:558-67.

2. Mishell DR, Jr. Contraception. New England Journal of Medicine 1989; 320: 777-787.

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Dr. Ted Benderev is a well known urologist since 1990 who has performed more than 2,000 vasectomy and vasectomy reversal procedures. His practice is conveniently located in the Orange County communities including Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Corona, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, San Clemente, Tustin, Westminster, and adjacent counties of Riverside, San Diego and Los Angeles.