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A vasectomy is a safe and effective birth control method for men who are certain they do not want to father children in the future. It is a minor surgical procedure that blocks the tubes carrying sperm. Reversing a vasectomy, if needed, can be done in many cases, however a vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of male birth control. 

In this blog, we will break down the factors affecting the cost of a vasectomy and what to consider when selecting a surgeon. In addition, we’ll discuss why a No-Needle, No-Scalpel vasectomy is considered by many specialists to be the best procedural choice for a vasectomy.

This blog will cover:

  • Vasectomy cost factors
  • What’s included in the cost of a vasectomy?
  • How much is a vasectomy out of pocket?
  • How much is a vasectomy with insurance?
  • Why you shouldn’t go with a cheap option
  • What is a no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy, and is it more expensive?
  • Why is No-Needle, No-Scalpel the Best Choice for a Vasectomy?

Vasectomy Cost Factors

Several factors can influence the total cost of a vasectomy, including:

  • Insurance coverage: This is a major factor. If your insurance plan fully covers the procedure as a preventative procedure, you are likely to only be responsible for any co-payments after your deductible has been met. If a patient’s insurance plan does not cover a vasectomy in full, it is likely to cover a portion of the cost. Patients should call their insurance providers for exact details.
  • No insurance coverage: The average self-pay cost for an out-of-pocket vasectomy is around $1500.
  • Out-of-Network clinic: If a patient selects an out-of-network surgeon because he highly values the experience and/or reviews of a given doctor and does not want to be limited by  in-network surgeons, the patient should speak with his insurance company ahead of time about the out-of-network reimbursement rates. The patient would then submit for reimbursement after the procedure is billed.
  • Location: Costs can vary depending on where a patient lives. Procedures in urban areas tend to be more expensive than in rural areas, and certain areas of the country may be more or less expensive than others.
  • Facility: The type of facility performing the vasectomy (private clinic vs. hospital) can affect the cost. Hospital-based clinics like academic medical centers and clinics that are associated with health care systems will often have a “facility fee” in addition to the procedure fee, therefore vasectomy is typically less expensive in a private clinic.
  • Doctor’s fees: The experience and expertise of the doctor can influence the cost. For example, a vasectomy in a public health clinic or primary care clinic is often less expensive than with a subspecialty trained surgeon such as a urologist.
  • Type of vasectomy: There are different surgical procedures for performing a vasectomy, and some may have slightly varying costs. But more often than not, there is just one price for whatever type of vasectomy a physician offers; the reason for this is that there are not different billing codes for the different types of vasectomy available. That said, it is smart to confirm this with your insurance company.

How do vasectomy costs and outcomes compare to other forms of birth control?

Each person’s situation is unique, and factors like insurance coverage play a key role, but in general these comparisons below are useful as couples consider options and discuss these options with their fertility specialist.

Vasectomy:

  • Average Cost with insurance: $0 plus copays after deductible is met
  • Cost without insurance:: Approximately $1500
  • Failure Rate: Only 0.15%.
  • Benefits: Minimally invasive, permanent, but reversible if needed.
  • Side Effects: Rare risk of infection or bleeding.

Condoms:

  • Average Annual Cost: Approximately $170 per year
  • Failure Rate: 2-18%
  • Benefits: Easy to use, inexpensive, and disposable
  • Side effects: Some people are allergic to latex; can be uncomfortable or decrease the pleasure of intercourse

IUD (intrauterine device):

  • Average cost with insurance: most private insurance plans cover FDA-approved IUD’s (this includes device, insertion, and removal). Exceptions may apply for specific hormonal IUD brands or charges for removal, but on average patients with insurance pay less than about $200 for everything involved.
  • Without insurance : $665-$2,420 for 10yr period (eventual replacement needed)
  • Failure Rate: Very low, less than 1%
  • Benefits: Long-lasting (up to 8 years), reversible, and highly effective
  • Side Effects: Minimal, but some discomfort during insertion, hormonal adjustment after removal can occur. Migration or perforation are the most significant complications although these are rare.

Birth Control Pills (oral contraceptives):

  • Average Annual Cost: Around $600 per year if not covered by a health plan
  • Failure Rate: 2-9%
  • Benefits: Reduces acne, PMS symptoms, and ovarian cancer risk
  • Side Effects: Possible headaches, nausea, and irregular periods

Tubal Ligation (tying of Fallopian tubes):

  • Average Cost: Around $2,000-$6000 depending on surgeon, although likely covered by insurance
  • Failure rate: Very low, less than 1%
  • Benefits: No need to remember daily doses or use barriers during intercourse; provides lifelong protection; no hormones involved
  • Side effects: Potential soreness at incision site, unique risks of laparoscopic surgery which can include injury to the intestines or internal bleeding, anesthetic complications. The primary downside is the requirement for general anesthesia

What’s Included in the Cost of a Vasectomy?

Typically, the cost of a vasectomy includes:

  • The surgical procedure itself: The use of surgical tools and the use of local anesthesia
  • Semen analysis: This test, typically performed 3 months after the procedure to verify there is no sperm in your semen, is generally included in the overall cost if, and only if, the vasectomy was covered by your health plan and the analysis is performed by the same hospital or private clinic where the vasectomy was done. If, however, your doctor’s office recommends a mail-order semen analysis, you might incur a separate cost. Ask your clinic ahead of time.

Additional costs associated with the vasectomy might include:

  • Initial consultation(s): Discussing the procedure with your doctor is an important first step. This would typically be a separate visit and therefore a separate copay.
  • Follow-up visits: Follow-up visits are very rarely necessary. If the patient has questions about their healing process, a follow-up office visit can be scheduled, and an office copay or self-pay rate would be charged. The semen analysis to confirm the vasectomy’s effectiveness typically does not require an office visit. 

Why You Shouldn’t Just Go With the Cheap Option

Cost of a Vasectomy

For patients with health insurance, the costs for their vasectomy should be the same regardless of what clinic is selected (as long as the clinic is in their network) except in the case of a hospital-based clinic, which will have additional facility costs.

Therefore, once insurability is established, the cost becomes a non-factor. The patient can then focus on the experience of the surgeon, the type of vasectomy procedures offered, and the surgeon’s reviews.

Even if a patient is paying out of pocket, choosing the cheapest option is NOT smart. Here’s why:

  • Experience of the doctor: A more experienced doctor can ensure a smoother procedure, minimize complications, and ensure effectiveness.
  • Facility: Hospitals typically have higher costs due to facility charges. Note that some clinics that are outside of the hospital itself may still be a hospital-based-clinic with hospital facility fees. Ask your clinic whether they are fully private or hospital-based and what if any facility fees are involved.
  • The value of a consultation: Clinics that offer vasectomies without a consultation may tell you that it costs less that way and is easier, but be wary. Not having a consult can lead to problems since there is no time to make preoperative considerations like discontinuing certain medications, offering special accommodations like anesthesia, or most importantly, giving you, the patient, time to consider the doctor’s advice since some men may be better served with an alternative option as a couple.

Remember: A vasectomy is an investment in your future family planning. Consult with an experienced doctor about which vasectomy procedure is right for you. Then talk with your insurance provider to get a clear picture of the total cost.

What is a No-scalpel, No-needle Vasectomy, and is it More Expensive than other Vasectomy Procedures?

A no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) is the least invasive form of vasectomy done by exposing the vas deferens using two specialized surgical instruments. Compared to a traditional incisional technique, NSV can result in less bleeding, hematoma, infection, and pain. It also has a shorter operative time than an incisional vasectomy.

A no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy is not typically more expensive than a traditional vasectomy.

Why is No-Needle, No-Scalpel the Best Choice for a Vasectomy?

The advantages of a no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy vs. a traditional incisional surgical technique include:

  • Lower risk of complications: This minimally invasive procedure minimizes complications. This makes the no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy safer in general.
  • Reduced pain: The procedure is generally less painful and has a lower risk for long-term chronic pain which can occur in approximately 1% of all types of vasectomies.
  • Less bleeding: The procedure results in less bleeding, hematoma, and infection risk.
  • Faster recovery: The absence of stitches and a smaller incision usually results in a quicker recovery.
  • No need for premedications: Patients can have normal meals before the procedure, can work before the procedure, and can drive themselves to and from the procedure.

With all of these advantages, a no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) can be a patient’s best choice for male vasectomy.

Summary of considerations for choosing a vasectomy surgeon:

Since vasectomy is almost always covered by health insurance, patients should be focused on the following considerations when choosing a surgeon:

  • What is the experience and training of the surgeon?
  • Will the surgeon take the time to listen and discuss which procedure is best for you?
  • Does the surgeon offer a no-needle, no-scalpel option?
  • How good is the follow-up protocol after the surgery?
  • Is the surgeon’s clinic in your network of covered providers?
  • Is the clinic private or is it hospital-based?

The Atlantic Reproductive Medicine Difference

Atlantic Reproductive Medicine in Raleigh, North Carolina has one of the only fellowship-trained specialists in the southeastern region offering a true no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy.

Dr. Matt Coward performs the procedure in the comfortable setting of a reproductive medicine clinic. Travel to Atlantic Reproductive Medicine is convenient, and the Raleigh area is inviting. The center is only ten minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport and centered in the Research Triangle, known for its biotech companies and three top-tier universities (UNC, Duke and NC State).

At Atlantic Reproductive Medicine, patients receive the level of medical expertise provided at top medical institutions but in a private setting offering a personal and tailored approach. Patients will also avoid hospital charges in this private clinic.

Atlantic Reproductive Medicine provides personalized financial counseling services to each patient. The clinic understands that paying for fertility treatment can be stressful. To ease that stress, patients at Atlantic Reproductive can meet with a financial coordinator who provides a detailed breakdown of a patient’s costs based on the recommended treatment and how it relates to your insurance benefits.

Learn all about Atlantic Reproductive Medicine and Dr. Matt Coward here: https://www.atlanticfertility.com.

If you are interested in scheduling a consultation for a vasectomy with Atlantic Reproductive Medicine, click here or call (919) 248-8777.