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What is a vasectomy

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What is a vasectomy? 

Vasectomy 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. This will prevent sperm entering your semen, which is the fluid ejaculated during sex. Without the sperm in the semen, an egg cannot be fertilised and a pregnancy cannot occur.

It is a permanent method of contraception that cannot easily be reversed, so you should take some time to think about whether this decision is right for you.  

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Vasectomy consultation: Medical assessment 

There are some medical conditions that mean having a vasectomy would not be a suitable option for you. Because of this, we will ask you about your medical history during your consultation to make sure the procedure is safe for you.  

Please bring any medication that you take regularly with you. It’s extremely important that you give us accurate information about any drugs or medication that you are taking. We also need to know if you have had or plan to have any of the following:  

  • Blood thinning medication, for example Warfarin or Aspirin  
  • Previous surgery on your testicles  
  • Any hernia repair  
  • Body piercing  
  • Metal plates or pins inside your body  
  • Any dental or surgical treatment that is booked six weeks either side of your vasectomy  

After your medical assessment, you may be asked to have your procedure at a different centre than you had chosen. This is to make sure that you get the right care based on your medical history. We will talk you through this before your vasectomy appointment. All treatment relies on a final assessment by the surgeon on the day of your appointment. You can find out more about the different steps of your vasectomy care by clicking the button below.  

Vasectomy procedure 

The vas deferens are tubes that carry the sperm from the testicles. When a vasectomy is performed, the vas deferens are sealed to stop sperm getting through. This does not affect the ejaculate fluid (semen) as this comes from a different area called the seminal gland.  

You will receive a local anaesthetic injection into your scrotum area but away from your testes. This will happen at two points during the procedure. There will be some pain when the injection is given. 

A small puncture hole is then made in the skin of the scrotum. A small pair of forceps is used to open the hole to access the vas deferens (tubes that carry the sperm), which are then sealed using heat (cauterisation). This means that the puncture hole to locate the vas deferens is very small. No scalpel is used and stitches are rarely needed on the skin. 

Non-scalpel vasectomy at MSI UK 

Our expert surgeons use the non-scalpel technique. The reason why we offer the non-scalpel procedure is because it is thought to be less painful. It is also less likely to cause complications. A non-scalpel vasectomy should cause very little bleeding, and stitches are rarely needed. 

Where to find vasectomy advice   

If you would like to talk to someone impartial before you make your decision, we can arrange vasectomy counselling for you. Our counsellors give confidential, non-judgemental support.  

Talking about your decision can help you to make sure that a vasectomy is the right choice for you. Counselling is an optional part of your vasectomy treatment. If you are under 25 and accessing vasectomy services, we would ask that you speak to one of our counsellors before treatment.  

If you would like to have counselling before you make your decision, you can call us anytime to make an appointment.  

Vasectomy FAQs 

Read our answers to frequently asked questions about this permanent method of contraception.

No – there will be some sperm left in your tubes after your procedure, so you will need to use another method of contraception until we have confirmed the success of your vasectomy in writing. 

We will test your semen at 16 weeks after the procedure: Semen testing. When you have given your sample, we will write to let you know that your vasectomy has been successful and that you can stop using contraception. In some cases this can take several tests. 

When deciding whether you want a vasectomy treatment, please remember that a vasectomy reversal is possible but not guaranteed so it is better to view a vasectomy as a permanent method of contraception. You should only proceed if you are certain you don’t want to have any, or anymore, children. 

You should take a few days to relax and rest up after the procedure. If you have a job that involves physical strain, we advise that you take a couple of weeks off. Avoid heavy lifting or contact sports. We advise that you recline as much as possible during your recovery. 

Your guide to getting a vasectomy

If you’re considering a vasectomy and looking for a short overview of vasectomy care at MSI UK – including information about the procedure and what to expect after a vasectomy – you can read our vasectomy leaflet.

Vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception. It is important to know what to expect when accessing our vasectomy services.

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Considering a vasectomy  

What you need to know if you’re thinking about having a vasectomy.  

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Vasectomy FAQs 

Answering commonly asked questions about a vasectomy. 

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Vasectomy myth-busting 

On this page we debunk common myths about a vasectomy with facts.