During a minor operation, the tubes that carry sperm from a man's testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed. This prevents sperm from reaching the seminal fluid (semen), which is ejaculated from the penis during sex. There will be no sperm in the semen, so a woman's egg can't be fertilised. Vasectomy is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and takes about 15 minutes.
Effect on sex drive
- You don’t have to think about contraception again
- Quick and relatively painless procedure
- No effect on sex drive or ability to enjoy sex
- You will still have an erection and ejaculate normally
- A simpler, safer and more reliable option than female sterilisation
- Blood in semen for first few ejaculations after operation – this is not harmful
- Bruised, swollen or painful scrotum for a few days
- As with any surgery, there's a slight risk of infection
- Small risk that sterilisation will not work or that tubes that carry sperm will re-join
- Small risk of blood clots, pain in testicles or non-harmful lumps
- Vasectomy does not protect against STIs, so you may need to use condoms if you think you are at risk of infection
- Once you have a vasectomy it is very difficult to reverse the process, so it's important to consider the other options available before making your decision. Some men choose to start or have a second family in their 30s or 40s
- Vasectomy reversal is not usually available on the NHS.
How effective is it?
In most cases, vasectomy is more than 99% effective. Out of 2,000 men who are sterilised, one will get a woman pregnant during the rest of his lifetime.
For more information visit the FPA website.