Vasectomy (Male Sterilization)
Introduction to Vasectomy (Male Sterilization)
Vasectomy is a method of male sterilisation. The operation stops the male sperm from entering the ejaculate, thereby preventing fertilisation during intercourse. The procedure is considered permanent
What is a Vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a method of male sterilisation. The operation stops the male sperm from entering the ejaculate, thereby preventing fertilisation during intercourse. The procedure is considered permanent as reversal is a difficult procedure that is usually not available on the NHS. It is highly effective, with a success rate of more than 99%. Importantly, the procedure does not affect your sex drive, ability to ejaculate or maintain an erection; it simply stops your ejaculate from containing sperm. If you are considering a method of permanent sterilisation, consult an urologist who can discuss the procedure in more detail.
How is a Vasectomy performed?
Vasectomy involves cutting the ‘vas deferens,’ the tubes that carry sperm away from the testes. It is a minor procedure and in most cases you will be able to leave the same day. Usually, a vasectomy is carried out under local anaesthetic, meaning that you will be awake for the procedure but your tested will be numbed. The procedure is not painful, though it may be uncomfortable.
There are two main methods of vasectomy. Conventional vasectomy involves making two small incisions in the scrotum, cutting the vas deferens and tying off the ends. The second type of procedure, known as no-scalpel vasectomy, is newer and thought to cause fewer complications. It involves making a tiny hole in the scrotum, without actually cutting it. Through this small hole, the surgeon can access the vas deferens and close them in the same way as conventional vasectomy.
How to prepare for a Vasectomy?
The most important consideration before undergoing a vasectomy is being confident that you have made the correct decision. You should only undergo the procedure if you are certain that you do not want further children; if you have doubts then you should consider other methods of contraception instead. You should not be pressured by your partner and should not make the decision after a life crisis where you may not be thinking as usual. There is nothing in particular that you need to do before the operation other than have a prior consultation with your doctor about what is best for you.
What happens after a Vasectomy?
It is normal to feel some swelling and mild discomfort after the procedure, for which you can take common painkillers. If you are experiencing prolonged pain weeks after the procedure, see an urologist or GP. It is normal to see some blood in your ejaculate for the first few ejaculations. Most men can resume sexual activity within a week following the procedure and return to work one or two days after the procedure.
Immediately after the procedure, you will not be sterile. On average it takes around 20 ejaculations for the tubes to become free of sperm. After the procedure, you will be asked to come in for semen tests to examine whether they are sterile. Until the doctor is confident that you are sterile, you will need to use another form of contraception.