You and your partner have discussed it at length, and decided that your family is complete. No more babies! So, what are your best birth control options? The vasectomy is one of many types of birth control to be considered when you want to be sexually active but don’t want to have children. Here are some of the main birth control options, both temporary and permanent, and the pros and cons for each method:

Temporary Methods of Birth Control

There are many methods of temporary birth control. These include barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms, hormone methods such as the pill or the patch, and implantable devices. The temporary nature of these types of birth control can be considered a pro or a con, depending on your situation. How certain are you that you don’t EVER want any more children? If you are less than one hundred percent sure, then a temporary method of birth control may be the best option for you, as it leaves you with room to change your mind.

What are the cons to temporary birth control methods?

These vary depending on your method of choice, but can include side effects, difficulty using the birth control correctly, difficulty remembering to take birth control pills, or a lack of spontaneity when using barrier methods. Most importantly, each of the temporary birth control methods has a small potential for the birth control to fail. None of these temporary methods of birth control has a success rate as high as the permanent methods of birth control, including vasectomy. That is why, when many couples are sure they do not to add to their family, they opt for more permanent and reliable methods of birth control.

Permanent Methods of Birth Control

The two choices for more permanent birth control are vasectomy, which is the male sterilization option, and tubal ligation, which is the female sterilization option. Before you and your spouse do the coin toss to decide who gets “snipped,” there are several facts to consider when comparing the two procedures.

Which is the safer procedure?

The fatality rate for tubal ligation is 3.5 per 100,000, and 0 for vasectomy.

Which is less expensive?

The average cost of tubal ligation is $2,500, while the average cost of a vasectomy is about $800. A vasectomy takes about 15 minutes, and is performed while the patient is under local anesthesia at a doctor’s office, while a tubal ligation requires a general anesthetic and a longer hospital visit. When comparing the two choices, the vasectomy is the safer, cheaper, less invasive procedure with a faster recovery time. To all the men who were hoping to hear that the tubal ligation was the better option so that their ladies could “take one for the team,” we apologize for this news! But all things considered, the vasectomy is a logical choice for couples who are seeking a permanent birth control method.

Vasectomy Reversals

Since a vasectomy is safe, reliable and relatively inexpensive, and it can be reversed, what about considering a vasectomy for a temporary form of birth control? With a failure rate of only 1 in 2,000, it is more effective than the temporary birth control methods. However, reversal of the vasectomy can be expensive – between $5,000 and $15,000 depending on the type of procedure – takes much longer to complete than the actual vasectomy, and does not guarantee that the sterilization will be reversed. The success rate for vasectomy reversals ranges from 20 to 50 percent, depending on the type of procedure and other factors, such as how soon after the vasectomy the reversal is performed. All things considered, vasectomy should be considered for permanent birth control only.

There is no one “right” answer to the birth control question. Each couple has a unique set of circumstances, and will need to choose the birth control option that is best for their family and their situation. A fact finding mission about all of the birth control options is a great place to start, as well as an inner fact finding mission, as you and your partner discuss your goals and priorities regarding family planning.