A vasectomy is an operation to cut and seal off the tubes (called the vasa deferentia) that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. Having a vasectomy means you will not be able to father any more children. A vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception that is sometimes called male sterilisation.
Another permanent method of contraception is female sterilisation (tubal occlusion). However, female sterilisation is associated with more risks and a higher chance of failure (i.e. pregnancy) than vasectomy.
A vasectomy will not affect your sex drive, testosterone (male hormone) levels or erections. You may produce slightly less fluid when you ejaculate, but this isn’t usually noticeable. The only difference is that the fluid will not contain sperm. Your body will still produce sperm, but they can’t travel to your penis and are naturally re-absorbed.
Although there is an operation to reverse a vasectomy, it is not always successful. So you need to be absolutely sure that you do not want any more children before deciding to have a vasectomy.
The vasectomy procedure is usually done under local anaesthesia, which means that you will be awake, but the area will be completely numb. Vasectomy is rarely done under general anaesthesia (where you are asleep for the procedure). The operation usually takes 15 to 30 minutes. The sections of the tubes that were removed may be analysed in a lab to confirm they are vasa deferentia.
Vasectomy is routinely performed as a day-case, without an overnight stay in hospital. Your surgeon will explain the benefits of having a vasectomy and discuss the associated risks and alternatives to the procedure.