What is a vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a popular choice of contraception for men who have completed their families and want a safe and reliable form of contraceptive that does not involve condoms for them or hormones for their partners.
Vasectomy is a very effective form of birth control, having about a one in five hundred failure rate.
What happens in a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a simple day-procedure which closes off the small sperm-carrying tubes (vas deferens) located in the scrotum. It is performed under local anaesthetic (yes, it's an injection) in our procedure room in the clinic.
The procedure takes about half an hour. Once the area is numb, I make a single small hole - about half a cm, in the centre of the scrotum and each tube is identified, divided and tied off. The small hole is closed with special glue and heals naturally and becomes almost invisible. There are no stitches and no need for any follow up appointments.
Will I be awake or can I be sedated?
You will be awake! Remember that a vasectomy is a very small operation and does not justify the risks of a general anaesthetic. However, you can be sedated if you prefer. If you would like a vasectomy but the idea of it makes you anxious, please let me know at our initial meeting and I can provide you with a prescription tablet to take beforehand which will help you to relax. You can also use numbing cream to make the injection hardly felt at all. During the procedure some men like to listen to music or we can just chat!
Does a vasectomy hurt?
More discomfort than pain!
After the initial initial injection you will not feel any pain during the operation. The local anaethetic wears off after about an hour and then ordinary painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen will manage any discomfort. I recommend an ice pack (frozen peas are my favourite) to reduce the risk of bruising. After the vasectomy, I recommend you take it easy and have a day or two off work, or more if your work is very physical. Supportive underwear can improve comfort. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting or sporting activities for a week.
Does vasectomy affect my sex life?
No, not at all.
After having a vasectomy, you will still climax and ejaculate as before. Sperm contribute a very small proportion of the volume of ejaculation, and you will not notice any difference. Sperm that continues to be produced will be re-absorbed by the body as they would be normally if you did not ejaculate for some time. Vasectomy has no effect on libido, sex drive, erections or enjoyment. You can start having sex again as soon as you feel comfortable - usually about a week.
How will I know its worked?
You will need to submit a semen sample for testing to confirm that it's all ok. Sperm are present in the tubes at the time of vasectomy and so you will need to get rid of any sperm that were "down stream" before the procedure is considered complete. I recommend 15 ejaculations over a three month period after the vasectomy. After three months you will need to submit a semen sample to ensure your semen is sperm-free. This is very important.
Can it be undone?
Vasectomy can be reversed by expert surgeons in the first three years or so after the procedure but the chances of success fall quite sharply after that. It should be considered a permanent form of contraception.