Vasectomies are available on the NHS so consult your GP for further information and to be referred into our Service.

One method of contraception is vasectomy surgery (male sterilisation).

During a minor operation, the tubes that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed.

This prevents sperm from reaching the seminal fluid (semen), which is ejaculated from the penis during sex. There will be no sperm in the semen, so a woman’s egg can’t be fertilised.

Vasectomy is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, and takes about 15 minutes.

At a glance: facts about vasectomy

  • In most cases, vasectomy is more than 99% effective. Out of 2,000 men who are sterilised, one will get a woman pregnant during the rest of his lifetime.
  • Male sterilisation is considered permanent – once it’s done, you don’t have to think about contraception again.
  • You need to use contraception for at least eight weeks after the operation, because sperm stay in the tubes leading to the penis.
  • Up to two semen tests are done after the operation, to ensure that all the sperm have gone.
  • Your scrotum (ball sack) may become bruised, swollen or painful – some men have ongoing pain in their testicles.
  • As with any surgery, there’s a slight risk of infection.
  • Reversing the operation isn’t easy, and is rarely available on the NHS.
  • Vasectomy doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By using a condom, you’ll protect yourself and your partner against STIs.

Find out more about vasectomies at


3394 What is a vasectomy

3395 Recovering from a vasectomy

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