A vasectomy – or male sterilisation – is a quick surgical procedure which cuts the tubes which carry sperm from a man’s testicles.
A vasectomy is highly effective and enables men to take an even more active and long-term role in contraception and family planning.
A vasectomy is long-term and very hard to successfully reverse.
It is typically chosen by men who have already had a family or reached an age where they are confident neither they or their partner(s) will wish to have children now or in future.
For this reason, vasectomy is not recommended as a form of contraception for younger people.
Though reversal is technically possible, the procedure is only available in certain circumstances and levels of success are low.
Having a vasectomy cannot protect against STIs’ and using a condom is still recommended to prevent infection.
Local anaesthetic is applied to the scrotum (ball bag) to numb the area so a small incision (cut) can be made.
The tubes which carry the sperm from the testicles to the penis are pulled through the cut and a small section is removed.
The procedure typically takes around 30 minutes and – after some initial tenderness – there is usually little pain or discomfort.
Existing sperm can remain within the tubes, so a semen sample is taken after 12 weeks. If no sperm are present, the procedure is successful and the man is sterile.
A vasectomy is over 99% effective.