Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a surgical form of contraception. The operation involves cutting and tying the tubes (called vas deferens) that deliver sperm from the testes to the prostate to make semen.

This stops the sperm from mixing with the seminal fluid made in the prostate. So, when the man ejaculates, there is no sperm in the semen. Because 95% of semen is made up of seminal fluid, and not sperm, there is virtually no difference on ejaculation. Also, because the testes continue making the male hormone testosterone, this operation has no effect on a man's sex drive.

Learn more about Vasectomy

Vasectomy symptoms

You will usually be asked to do the following on the day of your surgery.

  • Shave the area where your penis joins your scrotum.
  • Bring a pair of tight jockey shorts or other supportive underwear with you as support.
  • Keep the bandages in place.
  • If possible, arrange for someone to drive you home after the operation.

Vasectomy diagnosis

The Vasectomy Operation

Usually, your vasectomy will be done as an outpatient case. The surgeon numbs the scrotum with a local anaesthetic, then one or two cuts are made on each side. A section of the vas deferens is removed, and the ends are tied off. The cuts in the scrotum and stitched closed.

A new development is the 'no-scalpel' vasectomy. Here, the vas deferens are clamped through a small puncture in your scrotum, rather than a cut. This tiny opening heals quickly without the need for stitches. This only takes about 10-20 minutes.

After the operation

It's normal to feel slightly uncomfortable for a day or two after the operation. Mild painkillers can help. You will normally be advised to rest and keep activity to a minimum for 48-hours to decrease the risk of inflammation.

A vasectomy does not mean that you are instantly sterile. It takes 25-30 ejaculations over the next two months before the sperm count reaches zero. You need to provide two negative sperm tests before stopping other methods of contraception.

 

Vasectomy treatment

Can a vasectomy be reversed?

Technically, yes. However, the degree of effectiveness depends on how long it is since your operation (the longer the period, the lower the success rate), the skill of the surgeon, and the condition of the tissue. Using surgery, the disconnected ends of the vas deferens can be stitched back together, allowing sperm to once more travel up to the prostate and into the semen.

Need more information?

Speak to your GP if you're considering a vasectomy. You can discuss your options and schedule an operation. You can also find other useful websites via our links section.

Kidney

Read more

Bladder

Read more

Prostate

Read more

Male reproductive organs

Read more

Your stories

Headmaster runs multiple marathons post-surgery for TUF

Read Andy Conlon’s story Read all stories