Q: What is a vasectomy?
A: A vasectomy is a sterilisation
procedure performed on men to prevent them having any more children.
It is the safest & most effective method of birth control. It
is more reliable and much cheaper than female sterilisation (tubal
ligation) and can be performed under local anaesthetic with minimal
discomfort, using the no scapel technique. More here >
Q: Who should have a vasectomy?
A: You should
consider having a vasectomy if you are quite sure you don’t
want any more children and you want permanent reliable contraception.
More here >
Q: How is a vasectomy performed?
A: A local
anaesthetic injection is given into the scrotum below the penis,
well away from the testicles. This works very quickly to completely
numb the region, after which no pain should be felt.
A small puncture wound is made in the skin of the scrotum and each
vas is gently pulled out through this. A segment of each vas is
removed and the cut ends of the vas are cauterized to seal them
off. The vas ends are then tied off with small sutures to stop sperm
escaping and then separated from each other to minimize the risk
of spontaneous reconnection.
The operation normally takes only 20-30 minutes. Most men are pleasantly
surprised at how quick and painless the procedure is.
The skin wound is so small it does not require stitching. It will
heal in a few days. The internal sutures dissolve with time.
Q: Who will perform my vasectomy?
A: Our clinic has two very
experienced doctors who perform this procedure. More here >
Q: Will I have sedation?
A: We find
that most men don’t need any sedation but a mild sedative
is available if required.
Q: How will I feel afterwards?
A: You should
plan to rest over the weekend. A little bruising, swelling and mild
discomfort in the scrotum is normal for a few days. Panadol is generally
all that is required for pain relief.
Most men are able to return to work on the Monday following the
operation although strenuous exercise and exertion are best avoided
for 7-10 days.
Q: Can vasectomy affect my
A: You will
not notice any difference following the operation as vasectomy does
not affect erectile or orgasmic function.
Q: When can I resume intercourse?
A: Intercourse may
be resumed as soon as you are comfortable, usually within a week,
but you will need to continue using contraception until sperm counts
show that your semen is completely clear of sperm. This normally
takes about 20 ejaculations to clear the sperm from the vas deferens
and seminal vesicles “downstream” from the operation
site. However this varies from person to person.
Q: How will I know that the
operation has been effective?
A: Sperm counts should
be done after 20 ejaculations or 3 months after vasectomy to check
that the semen no longer contains sperm. It is very important to
do this before stopping other contraception as there is a very small
chance (1 in 1000) of failure, which can happen if the cut ends
of the sperm cords reconnect. Because of this we strongly advise
having 2 negative sperm counts before stopping other methods of
Q: Can the operation fail?
A: There is a very
small risk of failure, less than 1%, and certainly less than for
female sterilization . This may occasionally occur from operative
failure which will be detected when the sperm count is done.
Secondary failure through spontaneous reconnection of the sperm
cords is extremely
rare, less than 1 in 1000.
Q: Can it be reversed?
A: Whilst it is possible
to reverse a vasectomy, it is a much more difficult operation, usually
performed by a urologist. It requires microsurgery to reconnect
the tubes and is normally carried out under a general anaesthetic.
It is only available privately and currently costs about $6000.
The longer the interval between vasectomy and reversal the smaller
the chance of success. Overall there is about a 50% chance of conceiving
again after vasectomy reversal. For these reasons it is very important
to be sure of your decision before having a vasectomy.
Q: What happens to the sperm?
A: The sperm get reabsorbed
by the body’s immune system.
Q: Can I have sperm stored
A: If you would like
peace of mind against a change of circumstances you can arrange
to have sperm stored. Please note there is a fee for each sample
frozen and an annual charge to maintain frozen sperm. You may wish
to consider becoming a sperm donor to enable infertile couples to
Further information may be obtained from Fertility Associates,
205 Victoria St, Wellington.
Tel 04-3848401 www.fertilityassociates.co.nz