Vasectomy is an effective and permanent form of contraception. The operation is quicker, easier and more effective than female sterilisation. There is a very small failure rate. Sterilisation is only for people who have decided they do not want children, or further children in the future. It is considered a permanent method of contraception, as reversal is a complicated operation which is not always successful.

Vasectomy is a small operation to cut the vas. This is the tube that takes sperm from the testes to the penis. Once the vas is cut, sperm can no longer get into the semen that is ejaculated during sex.

How reliable is vasectomy?

Vasectomy is very reliable - but not quite 100%. Even after a successful operation about 1 in 2,000 men who have had a vasectomy will become fertile again at some point in the future. This is because, rarely, the two ends of the cut vas re-unite over time.

How is a vasectomy done?

I use the no scalpel technique developed in China in 1974. I have performed over 1000 cases with a very low complication rate.

In traditional vasectomy, two incisions (cuts) are made in the scrotum and through these each vas is located, cut and both ends tied. The skin wounds are closed with stitches.

No-Scalpel Vasectomy differs in that a single "keyhole" entry is made to both vasa (you have a single wound). There is no cutting of tissues as in traditional vasectomy. These measures mean that the likelihood of bleeding and therefore subsequent swelling and pain is much reduced. In addition, there are no stitches required.

Are there any risks to the operation?

Most men have no problems after a vasectomy, but rarely the following can occur

  • As with any operation or cut to the skin, there is a small risk of a wound infection.
  • Occasionally bruising in the scrotum is quite marked, but will go in a week or so.
  • Sperm may leak into the scrotum and form a small lump but this which may need treatment.
  • Some men have a dull ache in the scrotum for a few months after the operation. This usually settles over time.

How do I know it has been successful?

Some sperm survive in the upstream part of the vas for several months after vasectomy. These can get into the semen for a while after the operation. About twelve weeks after the operation you will need to produce a semen test which is looked at under the microscope to check for sperm. If no sperm are seen you will be given the all clear.

You still need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, until you get the all clear.

What are the advantages of vasectomy?

It is permanent and you don't have to think of contraception again. It is easier to do and more effective than female sterilisation.

What are the disadvantages of vasectomy?

It may take a few months before the semen is free from sperm. As it is permanent, some people regret having a vasectomy, especially if their circumstances change.

Will it affect my sex drive?

No. The sex hormones made by the testes (for example testosterone) continue to be passed into the bloodstream as before. Also, vasectomy does not reduce the amount of semen when you ejaculate during sex. Sperm only contributes a tiny amount to semen. Semen is made in the seminal vesicles and prostate beyond the vasectomy site.

What happens to the sperm?

Sperm are still made as before in the testes. The sperm cannot get past the blocked vas and are absorbed by the body.

Some other points about vasectomy

Don't consider having the operation unless you and your partner are sure you do not want children, or further children. It is wise not to make the decision at times of crisis or change, such as after a new baby or termination of pregnancy. It is best not to make the decision if there are any major problems in your relationship with your partner. It will not solve any sexual problems.