Male Sterilisation (Vasectomy)

How does male sterilisation work?

A vasectomy is when the tubes that carry sperm from your testicles to your penis are cut or blocked. These tubes are called the vas deferens. Vasectomies are usually carried out under local anaesthetic and take approximately 15 - 20 minutes. A small cut is made in the skin above your testicles and the tube is located and either cut, tied and/or sealed at the ends.


It is a permanent method of contraception. It does not involve disrupting sex

Disadvantages and Risks

The failure rate is 1 in every 2000 males - this may be because the tube rejoins or was not cut properly. You may experience pain, bruising or swelling in your scrotum - this usually settles within a week. If the tubes are not sealed properly, sperm can leak into the scrotum and cause inflammation and/or pain. A minority of men suffer with ongoing pain in their testicles.

It is not effective immediately as some sperm may be stored in the actual tube. Hence you will be advised to have your semen checked after 8 - 12 weeks to check there is no sperm present before you can discontinue other forms of contraception. It is not reversed easily. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Further sources on information

You can find further reliable information from your GP and on the Family Planning Association website: