This page will provide you with information about having a vasectomy. For further details, please speak to your consultant.
What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a minor operation that involves cutting the tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm from your testicles. This is used as an effective and permanent method of male contraceptive as it stops the sperm from mixing with semen and reaching your penis (see Figure 1). Having a vasectomy should not have any adverse effect on your sex drive, or limit your ability to enjoy sex.
What are the benefits of a vasectomy?
As you will no longer release sperm, a vasectomy should stop your partner from becoming pregnant and means that no other form of contraception will be needed. However, it should be noted that having the procedure does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or prevent the spread of disease.
What are the alternatives to surgery?
Using a condom is the only other effect method of male contraception. For women, there are several methods of contraception that could be considered alternatives. These include:
- A coil or intra-uterine contraceptive device (IUCD)
- Hormone implants
- Sterilisation, which involves blocking both fallopian tubes
- Oral contraceptive pill
What will happen during the procedure?
Usually, the operation is performed under a local or general anaesthetic. You may be given antibiotics during the procedure in order to reduce the risk of infection. The operation usually takes around 20 minutes. Your surgeon will usually make a single cut on each side of your scrotum. Some surgeons choose to make a single cut on the middle of your scrotum.Your surgeon will cut the tubes that carry sperm from each testicle to your penis. The ends of the tubes will be closed using one of several methods, including:
- An electric current (cauterisation)
Your surgeon will close any cuts that were made in your scrotum with dissolvable stitches.
Risks and complications
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.
Unless your consultant recommends you need to stay longer in order to recover, you should be able to return home the same day. You will likely experience aching in your testicles for a few days. After about two days you should be able to return to work. If your work involves strenuous activity, you should wait at least a week. Your consultant will ask for a semen sample following your operation to check no sperm remain. Your consultant will ask for a sample of your semen after you have ejaculated approximately 20 times following your operation. This is to check that any sperm left behind have been cleared out.
References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this page is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.
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