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Learn more about vasectomies at King Edward VII’s Hospital

Why would I need vasectomy surgery?

A vasectomy offers more than 99% protection against having children and works by cutting and sealing the tubes called the vas deferens that carry sperm from the testicles out of the penis during ejaculation.

If you’ve decided that you want no, or no more, children, then you may want to consider having a vasectomy.

What does vasectomy surgery achieve?

Vasectomy surgery is highly effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy by preventing sperm from entering your semen so that it cannot fertilise a woman’s egg. Semen is the fluid that is produced during ejaculation. After a vasectomy, you will still be able to reach climax and be able to ejaculate, but your semen won’t contain any sperm.

Having a vasectomy won’t affect your libido (sex drive) or your enjoyment of masturbation or sexual activity.

A vasectomy won’t give you protection against STIs, so if you’re in a new or open relationship, you will still need to protect yourself by using condoms.

When should you speak to your specialist about vasectomy surgery?

If you’ve decided that you don’t want children or that you’d rather not have any more children, you can either speak to one our specialists directly or you can speak to your GP.

If you have a partner, discuss having a vasectomy with them beforehand, as they will no longer be able to have children with you. However, it isn’t a legal requirement to get your partner’s permission to have a vasectomy.

How is vasectomy surgery performed?

During a vasectomy, your surgeon will numb your scrotum using a local anaesthetic before making two small cuts in the skin of the scrotum. They will then remove a small section of each vas deferens (one serving each testicle) before either tying them, heat sealing them, or both tying and sealing them to render them ineffective. They will then stitch the cuts in your scrotum using dissolvable stitches.

What is the recovery like for vasectomy surgery?

Your recovery from vasectomy surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.

After your procedure, your nursing team will advise you on how best to recover. You can usually return to your normal duties within one to two days following your procedure. It’s helpful to wear tight fitting underwear for a few days to help reduce swelling and bruising. If you have stitches, they will usually dissolve within around a week.

You can resume your sexual activity, including masturbation, after ten days. However, you will need to continue to use contraception until you have a semen analysis, usually 12-14 weeks after a vasectomy, to make sure there is no sperm in ejaculate. Your surgeon will then contact you with the results of your semen analysis. It’s important to continue to use contraception until you receive the all clear from your post-vasectomy semen analysis. It can take 12 to 14 weeks for sperm to clear from your vas deferens and there is still a chance of pregnancy during this time.

Are there any risks/complications associated with vasectomy surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Vasectomy surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

  • Bruising to the scrotum
  • An infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Haematoma formation (blood clot formed in the scrotum)
  • Pain

Also, a vasectomy can be reversed, but this can be a difficult procedure and doesn’t always work. Therefore, it’s important to think of a vasectomy as a permanent procedure and that you think things through before having a vasectomy to be sure that you don’t want any, or any more, children.

The longer term side effects include

  • Late failure in around 1 in 2000 vasectomies (this means that the ends of the vas deferens re-join at a later date meaning that even after the all clear from a semen analysis, pregnancy still then occurs)
  • Chronic scrotal pain
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