Vasectomy is a safe, permanent method of contraception for men who have completed their family or who have decided not to have children.
Marie Stopes Australia provides expert vasectomy services across our network of clinics nationally. The following is a useful resource for men and couple thinking about vasectomy but who aren’t sure what to expect.
How does vasectomy work?
A vasectomy is a straightforward day procedure that involves closing off the small sperm carrying tubes that are located in the scrotum, blocking the flow of sperm from the testicles. With no change to your hormones, ejaculation or orgasm, there’s no reason why having a vasectomy should have a negative impact on your sex life.
In fact, many couples find vasectomy improves their sex life, enjoying greater sexual freedom once they no longer have the worry of an unplanned pregnancy. As a guide, you can expect return to sexual activity from one week after the procedure.
How long does it take?
Both the consultation and procedure take place on the same day, with the procedure itself only taking about 15-30 minutes.
However, please do factor in time for admission, your pre-procedure consult, the procedure and recovery.
If you opt for sedation, you will need longer to recover than with a local anaesthetic.
How effective is vasectomy?
Vasectomy is one of the most effective methods of contraception that exists, with a failure rate of much less than 1%. To ensure your vasectomy was successful, you will be provided with a take-home semen test, which needs to be completed three months after the procedure. You must use contraception until the test confirms a negative result.
If the test suggests the vasectomy has failed, the procedure can be repeated at no cost.
Does it hurt?
You should not feel any pain while the procedure is being performed. You may feel slight discomfort afterwards but ordinary painkillers and a cold pack will help.
Most vasectomies are performed under local anaesthetic but you may be able to choose sedation: which means you will feel drowsy and unaware.
If you think you would prefer to be sedated, it’s important to follow the fasting guidelines in your patient pack, and to arrange a support person to take you home on the day.
Speak to an aftercare nurse, or see your doctor, if pain or swelling persists beyond a few days.
Is vasectomy reversible?
You should consider vasectomy as a permanent method of contraception.
There is no guarantee that a vasectomy can be reversed, so if you think you might change your mind, you and your partner should consider an alternative reversible method of contraception.
What can I expect from a typical appointment?
All men have a pre-operative consultation with a nurse or doctor to discuss the decision and to talk about the procedure. Your partner is very welcome to attend this session with you.
Following the procedure, we provide a 24-hour aftercare service, if you have any questions or concerns.
How long will I be out of action?
While you will only be at the clinic for about an hour, it’s a good idea to take things easy for a day or two following the procedure. You may feel a slight ache in the groin area for 3-4 days.
Light physical activity can be resumed after two days, but we advise patients not to engage in vigorous activity for a few weeks after your procedure. It’s important to discuss your personal circumstances with your doctor for advice specific to your lifestyle.
How do I prepare for my procedure?
Before your appointment, please read your booking confirmation email and the patient pack attached carefully, as these contain important information about your procedure, including fasting guidelines if you opt for sedation.
As a courtesy to others, we ask that you please provide us with at least 24 hours’ notice of any changes or cancellations to your appointment, and please let us know on the day if you are running late.
If you have any questions, we’re here to help.
Remember, if you have any questions or wish to discuss your options further, please contact our national support centre.