Overview

What is it?

If a man is looking to prevent any fertility, he may choose to have a vasectomy. This is where the tubes that carry a man’s sperm are cut or sealed to prevent any sperm from entering the semen.

How effective is it?

A vasectomy is incredibly effective, with rates of over 99%. It is permanent, and can only be reversed through another procedure, which isn’t always successful. This means it is important to carefully consider whether a man is ready to give up his fertility before having the procedure.

There is no effect on sex and a man will still have erections and ejaculate, but it is simply that the semen won’t contain sperm any more.

After the procedure has been carried out, contraception has to be used for at least 8 to 12 weeks as sperm may still be in the tubes leading to the penis. Tests will be carried out after the operation, to ensure that no sperm remains.

Treatment

Surgery

There are two types of vasectomy and both are quick procedures:

  • Conventional vasectomy using a scalpel (surgical knife)
  • No-scalpel vasectomy

The first involves a local anaesthetic, followed by two small cuts on each side of the scrotum to access the tubes that carry the sperm. These tubes are cut and a small section is removed. They are then either tied or sealed shut. The small cuts are stitched and often dissolvable stitches are used.

A no-scalpel vasectomy also has a local anaesthetic, but instead of a cut, a very small puncture hole is made to get to the tubes. There are no stitches and the risk of complications is lower.

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