Vasectomy is a simple, highly effective and safe operation for male sterilisation.

It should be considered by men or couples who have completed their family, or do not want children and have decided that they want a permanent form of contraception.

Unexpected future circumstances such as a new partner, or what would happen if a tragedy befell existing children, must be considered carefully. If there is any possibility the man may want to father more children in the future, he is not suitable for a vasectomy.

What is a vasectomy?

Vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that prevents sperm travelling out of the testes into the semen. Semen is the fluid that is ejaculated during sexual intercourse. The man still ejaculates normally after he has had a vasectomy, but there are no sperm in the semen. Pregnancy will not occur if there are no sperm.

Sperm are made in the testicles and are carried along the tubes (vas deferens) located in the scrotum in ejaculation.

The vasectomy procedure does not affect the ability to produce semen and will not change a man’s sexual function or male characteristics. The male sex hormone testosterone will continue to be produced by the testes and will be unaffected as the testosterone is released directly into the bloodstream. It is only the vas deferens, which is interrupted as a result of vasectomy, preventing the normal transport of sperm.

Men find that their sex life is not affected and the only difference is that the semen will not contain sperm. Some men report that their sex life improves when there is no longer a fear of pregnancy.

How effective is a vasectomy?

Vasectomy is one of the most effective forms of contraception. The failure rate is less than 1%. There is a very small risk of contraceptive failure due to the tubes rejoining naturally and this is most likely to occur within the first 2 months following the procedure.

There will be sperm present in the vas tubes after the operation and it may take 20 or more ejaculations to clear. We recommend waiting 2 months after a vasectomy to get a test to check there is no more sperm in the semen. It is a time period, as well as frequency of ejaculation which helps flush the sperm out of the system.

If semen analysis test is clear, it is ok to start having unprotected sex, but not before. The doctor will tell you when the semen has “passed” the test. You should not have unprotected sexual intercourse until the doctor has told you that it is ok to do so, otherwise unplanned pregnancy may occur, even after having had a vasectomy.

What is involved in the vasectomy operation?

Vasectomy is a simple operation and can be done using local anaesthetic (awake) or intravenous sedation (twilight sedation). We recommend that you have intravenous sedation, as it is safe, and makes you more comfortable and relaxed during the procedure.

A small (1-2cm) incision is made in the upper part of the scrotum (sac). The vas deferens which lies just under the skin is divided and separated to prevent rejoining and then dropped back into the sac. There are 2 vas tubes and both sides are cut and tied through the same skin incision. Usually the sac is closed without stitches. Sperm will continue to be made in the testicles but production slows down and the body reabsorbs them.

What can I expect?

The operation takes about 20-30 minutes to perform but you need to allow for at least 2 hours at the clinic.

When the anaesthetic wears off there may be some pain and bruising in the groin or scrotum. Tight fitting supportive underpants, cold packs and over the counter pain medication such as paracetamol and codeine, should relieve this discomfort.

Rest is recommended for at least three days.

Avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting that puts pressure on the groin or scrotum for at least 10 days. Normal day-to-day activity is not harmful but if work is physically strenuous sick leave may be required. A medical certificate can be provided on request.

Are there any side effects or serious complications?

Serious side effects are very rare.

Slight soreness, swelling and bruising is likely immediately after the operation and this lasts for a few days.

Some men develop antibodies to their own sperm after the operation and this does not affect any other part of the body, cause any disease or discomfort. These antibodies may be one of the reasons men cannot father a child following a vasectomy reversal operation.

Occasionally sperm can leak from the ends of the cut tubes and produce tiny lumps (granuloma) at the site of the operation and over time this can lead to rejoining of the tubes, though the operative technique used at Gynaecare makes this extremely unlikely.

How do I arrange a vasectomy at Gynaecare?

Contact us at our Sydney lower north shore clinic to make an appointment for consultation with one of the doctors. At this time you will have the procedure fully explained to you, have an explanation of the anaesthetic options available and your anatomy will be checked.

After the consultation an appointment can be made for the operation to be performed on a Thursday afternoon or on some Saturday’s. At the time of booking you will be asked to pay the non refundable theatre fee ($175).

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