Vasectomy (Male sterilisation)
One method of contraception is vasectomy (male sterilisation). During a minor operation, the tubes that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed. This prevents sperm from reaching the seminal fluid (semen), which is ejaculated from the penis during sex. There will be no sperm in the semen, so a woman’s egg can’t be fertilised. In most cases, vasectomy is more than 99% effective.
You should only have a vasectomy if you are certain that you do not want to have any, or any more, children. If you have any doubts, consider another method of contraception until you are completely sure. There is an operation to reverse a vasectomy but it is not always successful.
Vasectomy takes about 15 minutes to perform and is a quick and relatively painless surgical procedure. The tubes that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed with heat. In most cases, you will be able to return home the same day.
Most vasectomies are carried out under local anaesthetic. This means that only your scrotum and testicles will be numbed, and you will be awake for the procedure. You will not feel any pain, although it may feel slightly uncomfortable. In rare cases, a general anaesthetic may be required. This means that you will be asleep during the procedure. A general anaesthetic may be used if you are allergic to local anaesthetic or have a history of fainting easily. However, most people will only need a local anaesthetic.
A vasectomy has no effect on sex drive or ability to enjoy sex. You will still have erections and ejaculate normally. The only difference is that your semen will not contain sperm.
The vasectomy, involves making two small incisions in the scrotum (the pouch of skin that surrounds your testicles) using a scalpel (surgical knife). During a vasectomy, the skin of your scrotum is numbed with local anaesthetic. The consultant makes two small cuts, about 1cm long, on each side of your scrotum. The incisions allow your surgeon to access the tubes that carry sperm out of your testicles. These tubes are known as “vas deferens”. Each tube is cut and a small section removed. The ends of the tubes are then closed, either by tying them or sealing them using diathermy (an instrument that heats to a very high temperature). The incisions are stitched, usually using dissolvable stitches, which will disappear naturally within about a week.
It’s common to have some mild discomfort, swelling and bruising of your scrotum for a few days after the vasectomy. If you have pain or discomfort, you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol. Contact your consultant for advice if you are still experiencing considerable pain after taking painkillers. It’s common to have blood in your semen in the first few ejaculations after a vasectomy. This isn’t harmful.