The primary symptom that has been linked to vasectomy is the post-vasectomy pain syndrome, also known as congestive epididymitis or chronic testicular pain. This has been reported to occur even years after vasectomy at a rate of 2% for open-end vasectomy and between 6% and 33% for closed-end vasectomy. [Contraception, 46:6, pp. 521-5, December, 1992, British Journal of Urology, 69: 2, pp.188-91, February, 1992] A review of the literature would suggest that techniques in which the cords are not tied off (open-ended) can reduce the incidence of post-vasectomy scrotal pain.
A vasectomy involves cutting and tying the cords (the vas deferens) that carries the sperm. There are several procedures used to carry out a vasectomy, involving either cutting and tying, electrocautery (burning with an electrical current), or both. After the surgery, a blow-out may occur if the severed cord swells and reopens under pressure from the sperm. Cutting the cord which carries sperm has an obvious danger. The sperm, which must go somewhere, may leak into body cavities.
The body will react to the out-of-place sperm with an immune response, thus opening the door for possible complications. After a vasectomy, sperm production remains the same: about 50,000 spermatozoa each minute. Having "no way out" these cells die and are absorbed. Antigens that are released in the process can infiltrate the bloodstream and cause the body to manufacture antibodies to defend itself against them, with possible cross-reactivity to other body tissues.
Although the final verdict of the medical safety of vasectomy is not yet in, suspicions are rising that the long-term effects on the immunological system will reveal that a vasectomy can cause many other serious health problems. H.J. Roberts, MD analyzed his own patients over a period of three decades and found a high correlation between a wide variety of conditions and men with fairly recent vasectomies.
According to Dr. Roberts, "Their patterns of response suggest a cause and effect relationship between vasectomy and various disorders, especially in light of the fact that the majority had enjoyed good health before surgery." [Is Vasectomy Worth The Risk? A Physician's Case Against Vasectomania]
It was also discovered that the couples who had been receiving fertility treatment where the male had a vasectomy, then had it reversed, were 50 percent less likely to conceive than couples experiencing other fertility difficulties. Cost is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration, for most reversal surgeries are not covered by insurance plans. The surgery can run anywhere from $6,000 to $13,000 and may not prove to be successful. [Guardian Unlimited March 31, 2004]