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Everything you need to know about having a vasectomy in England

Vasectomy  •  11 October 2023  • 7 min read

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A vasectomy is a quick, safe and permanent method of contraception.

In this blog, we provide information on:

  • What a vasectomy is
  • What to expect when booking a private or NHS vasectomy
  • What to expect during your vasectomy treatment
  • What to expect following your vasectomy treatment

What is a vasectomy?

Vasectomy is a permanent contraceptive method that is suitable for people who are sure they don’t want any, or anymore, children. It is a quick, safe, and effective method of contraception. It is a minor procedure which takes about 15 minutes and seals the tube (vas deferens) which carries sperm).

What to expect before you book a private or NHS vasectomy

  • Considering a vasectomy

Vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception and cannot be easily reversed. You should only proceed if you are certain you don’t want to have any, or anymore, children. You can access NHS-funded, confidential vasectomy counselling services before you start the referral process, if you would like to talk to someone to make sure this is the right decision for you.

Find out more here: What is a vasectomy

  • Vasectomy referral: NHS vasectomy and private vasectomy

There are three ways to access vasectomy care with MSI UK:

  • GP referral for an NHS-funded vasectomy (a written or electronic form)
  • Self-referral for an NHS-funded vasectomy (available in certain areas of the country – click here to learn more)
  • Self-referral for a private vasectomy (Vasectomy costs are listed here)

You can find out more about accessing vasectomy care here: How to be referred

  • Vasectomy consultation

When you call us to book your vasectomy, one of our advisors will arrange your consultation. Your consultation will be a 20-minute phone appointment. Consultations must take place at least ten days before your procedure to give you some time to think over your decision to make sure it is the right one for you. During the consultation, we will talk about the vasectomy procedure, so you know what to expect on the day, ask about your medical history and inform you of any possible risks and complications.

What to expect during your vasectomy treatment

  • Preparing for your vasectomy procedure

Once you have booked your appointment for your vasectomy procedure, you can start to prepare for the day. This includes arranging travel, knowing what to wear, thinking about pain relief, ensuring you haven’t used any recreational drugs or drunk alcohol for at least 24 hours before your appointment, and considering having a bath or shower before your appointment.

You can find all you need to know before your vasectomy appointment here: Preparing for your appointment

  • Arriving at your appointment

If your appointment is in one of our larger centres, our team will greet you and check your notes when you arrive. Our smaller centres are often hosted within local health centres or GP surgeries. If you have chosen to have your vasectomy at one of our smaller sites, you will be signposted to a waiting area where an MSI UK team member will come and meet you and check your details.

You can expect to be at the centre for about one hour, although the procedure will only take 10 to 15 minutes.

  • At your appointment

We may take your blood pressure to make sure it is safe to proceed with your vasectomy. We will make sure that the vasectomy procedure has been explained fully before you proceed. You will then be asked to read and sign a consent form to ensure you understand the procedure, and the possible risks and complications (which will have been explained to you during your consultation).

We cannot proceed until you have read and signed the consent form.

  • The vasectomy procedure

You will be shown into the treatment room and introduced to the clinical team. The surgeon will then perform a physical examination before starting the vasectomy procedure.

The procedure will take 10 to 15 minutes, and once the procedure is over, you will be shown to the recovery room where you will rest for around 30 minutes. Your blood pressure will be taken, and you will be encouraged to have a drink and biscuit while you are waiting.

You can read more about what to expect during your appointment here: On the day of your vasectomy

After your vasectomy procedure: aftercare, sports, and post vasectomy sperm test

  • Vasectomy recovery

While you are in the recovery room, a member of the team will talk you through your recovery and aftercare advice and give you a recovery pack.

When it is time for you to leave the clinic, we recommend you go straight home and rest for at least 48 hours after the procedure. Please remember that you must not drive yourself home from your appointment. For the next few days, avoid any long periods of standing, walking, or driving.

You can call our 24-hour aftercare line at any time on 0345 122 1441.

For more detailed vasectomy aftercare advice, click here: Recovery and aftercare

  • 48 hours after your vasectomy procedure

48 hours after your procedure you should have a short bath or shower to help remove the dressing but do ensure you avoid long soaks until the wound has healed and do not use toiletries such as bath oils or talcum powder as they can irritate the area. Dry the area thoroughly and put on the clean dressing you were given.

You should not drink alcohol for 48 hours after your procedure and should avoid short haul flights (up to three hours) for 48 hours.

You can resume sexual activity whenever you feel comfortable. We advise you refrain from sexual intercourse for 48-72 hours after the procedure. Make sure to use contraception until we confirm in writing that your vasectomy has been successful.

  • Two weeks after your vasectomy procedure

If you have a job that involves heavy lifting, we recommend that you only return to work if you are able to avoid the physical tasks for 2 weeks.

Sports and physical exercise can also resume after two weeks has passed, but heavy physical exercise and contact sports (such as rugby, football, squash, cycling, skiing and going to the gym) should be avoided for four weeks.

  • 16 weeks after your vasectomy procedure: semen testing

To make sure that your vasectomy procedure has been successful, we need to test your semen in a laboratory. You need to give one semen sample 16 weeks after your vasectomy. Before you give your sample, you need to have had at least 20 ejaculations since the vasectomy.

Find out more about this process here: Semen testing

Read more about having a vasectomy at MSI UK


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