Vasectomy is the only permanent method of male contraception, chosen by an estimated 13% of British men.
It is a simple surgical procedure that seals the sperm-carrying tubes (the vas deferens) to prevent sperm from entering the fluid you ejaculate. The procedure usually takes just 10 minutes.
Why choose vasectomy?
The main reasons men choose to have a vasectomy are that either they have completed their family and have decided to take permanent responsibility for contraception, or in some cases, may not wish to have children at all.
Is a vasectomy 100% effective?
Both vasectomy and female sterilisation are the most effective long-term methods of contraception. However, there is a very small possibility of failure, less than 1%, with either method. With regard to vasectomy this can be categorised as short-term or long-term failure. The vasectomy procedure involves sealing the sperm-carrying tubes but, in rare cases, the tubes may join together naturally.
How is a vasectomy performed?
The sperm carrying tubes are called the vas deferens and these tubes come from a man's testicles. When a vasectomy is performed the vas deferens are sealed to stop sperm getting through. This does not affect the ejaculate fluid as this comes from a different area called the seminal gland. A fast acting local anaesthetic is given, which quickly numbs the area. The incision to locate the vas deferens is very tiny and no scalpel or stitches are needed, except in very rare cases. The vasectomy procedure takes about 10-15 minutes to perform.
After a vasectomy the testicles will continue to produce sperm as normal, but it cannot enter the tubes and is simply reabsorbed into the body.
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