Male Sterilisation (Vasectomy)


What is sterilisation?

Sterilisation is a permanent form of contraception. In men this procedure is called vasectomy (‘The Snip’). It’s an operation that cuts the tube called the vas deferens so that sperm produced in the testes cannot get into the semen (cum). If there are no sperm in the semen then pregnancy cannot occur.




This procedure can be done under general or local anaesthetic. A small incision is made in the front of the scrotum so that the vas deferens can be located, cut and the ends sealed.

The procedure takes about 20 minutes. With a general anaesthetic it usually takes about one to two hours for surgical preparation, the operation and recovery time.

Provided it has been thought over carefully, any man can choose to have a vasectomy. However, doctors may be reluctant to do the operation on young men, especially those without children.

If you are considering sterilisation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you want a vasectomy?
  • How does your partner feel?
  • If your current relationship ended, would your feelings change?
  • How would you feel if something happened to the children you have now?

If you are absolutely certain that you do not want children in the future, sterilisation is an excellent option. It’s important to make sure that you are certain as this is a permanent form of contraception.

When the anaesthetic wears off there will be some tenderness at the site of the operation. This can be reduced by simple pain-relieving medication, an ice pack and wearing underwear that supports the scrotum.

It’s important to rest for 24 hours and avoid strenuous exercise for a few days.

As with any operation, complications such as infection and bruising can occur, but they are uncommon.

After the procedure sperm will still be present in the tubes for 2-3 months. After that time you’ll need to have a semen test to see if all the sperm have gone.

Use another method of contraception until the semen tests have confirmed that there are no sperm in your ejaculate (cum).

You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable. The procedure will not change your sexual ability or enjoyment. Many men enjoy sex more when they don’t have to worry about a female partner becoming pregnant.

Vasectomies rarely fail, although 1 in 1000 men who have had a vasectomy remain fertile or will become fertile again. Normally a failure can be detected when the semen tests are done, but it can occur at any time, even years after the vasectomy.

It’s sometimes possible to rejoin the vas deferens, but this operation is not always effective. The reversal operation is complicated and can be expensive. It’s really important to think of sterilisation as permanent and discuss the consequences of sterilisation with your partner and health professionals before the procedure.

A vasectomy can be done in public hospitals, by private specialists and by some general practitioners. Seek information and referral from your general practitioner or SHine SA.

There is no cost if you have a vasectomy in a public hospital; however, there is a waiting list. The cost of having this done privately is variable. Discuss this with your doctor.

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