• November 24, 2023
  • Dr Luke Wee

Last updated on April 5, 2024

The decision to undergo “the snip” is a big one and requires a comprehensive understanding of the procedure, its benefits, and potential concerns. This guide developed by The Cooper Clinic is designed to provide you with an insight into what to know about vasectomy, empowering you to make an informed decision about your future and whether this form of birth control is the right one.

What is a vasectomy procedure?

A vasectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on the male reproductive system. By cauterising the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm) with a laser, sperm can no longer travel from the testicles to the outside. This makes vasectomies a safe and effective permanent contraceptive method. There are two main techniques to achieve this:

A conventional vasectomy uses a scalpel to make one or two incisions to access and snip the vas deferens, before requiring stitching to close the incisions. A newer, more modern approach is the no-scalpel vasectomy which uses a device to create a small puncture to access and cut the vas deferens tubes. There is no need to stitch the small hole closed, it heals relatively quickly. Both procedures use local anaesthetic to numb the scrotum first and are an effective method for permanent birth control.

what to know about vasectomy

What to know about vasectomy – When you are sure you don’t want more children, or for other personal reasons, a vasectomy for male sterilisation is a highly effective form of birth control.

Benefits of choosing vasectomy

Effective: One of the top reasons many men choose vasectomy is its high success rate of over 99%. Vasectomies stand out as one of the most reliable methods of preventing pregnancies. This gives men and their partners added peace of mind when it comes to family planning.

Minimal side effects: While no medical procedure is entirely without risks, vasectomies tend to have a lower risk of side effects. There is only a 1-2% risk of developing an infection, bleeding or sperm leaking into the scrotum causing a sperm granuloma.

One-time procedure: Birth control pills require daily attention, and methods like contraceptive injections or patches require regular doctor visits. A vasectomy is a permanent solution that doesn’t affect hormones and is a one-time permanent solution (so no ongoing costs). In addition, they are not time-sensitive (or reliant on you remembering to take them) like the pill, condoms or implantable contraception.

Control: Beyond the practical aspects, a vasectomy offers a deeper sense of empowerment. Men get the chance to actively participate and take responsibility for birth control and preventing pregnancy.

What to expect during the procedure

The procedure involves the use of local anaesthesia to numb the scrotum. Depending on the chosen method, it might be conducted via small incisions or a no-scalpel technique to access the vas deferens, snip them and close them up. Typically, the whole process wraps up in under 20 minutes.

Whilst we recommend you have someone to drive you home, it is not a requirement for standard procedures. However, if you require sedation for your vasectomy, you will not be able to drive for 24 hours after your procedure.

what to know about vasectomy

What to know about vasectomy – A non-scalpel or incision vasectomy is a quick, relatively painless procedure that helps men feel in control of contraception.

Recovery time and what to know about vasectomy aftercare

Rest: Immediately after the procedure you should take it easy.

Cold packs: To manage and minimise swelling you can apply an ice pack to the area periodically. It not only helps with swelling but can also alleviate some of the discomfort.

Expect some side effects: Post-procedure, it’s not uncommon to experience some mild pain or discomfort, light bruising, or swelling. Thankfully, these are temporary and typically resolve within a few days.

Aftercare guidelines: It is essential to follow the aftercare advice of your doctor. This includes recommendations on when it’s safe to take a shower, drive, return to work and sexual intercourse.

Resuming activities: While each person’s recovery may vary, most men can return to their non-strenuous jobs the day after their vasectomy. However, it’s recommended to avoid heavy lifting and vigorous physical activity for about a week.

Sexual activity: While some men feel ready to resume sexual activities within a week of the procedure, it’s essential to note that the initial ejaculations post-vasectomy might still contain sperm. Therefore, alternate contraceptive methods should be used until an official semen test recommended by the clinic confirms a zero sperm count. Please note that DIY kits may yield inaccurate results and should not be used to confirm sterility.

Vasectomy and sexual function

There is a common myth that vasectomy affects sexual function. In reality, the procedure does not impact your libido (sex drive) or sexual performance. The only difference post-vasectomy is your semen is sperm free to prevent pregnancy.

what to know about vasectomy

What to know about vasectomy – A vasectomy is a quick, relatively painless procedure that won’t diminish your sex drive or ability to perform.

Considerations before making the decision

One of the most important considerations in what to know about vasectomy is that it is permanent. While it’s technically possible to have a vasectomy reversed, it’s not always successful. This is why it is important to have open and honest conversations with your partner before having the snip.

It is also important to note that this won’t prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so if you are with a new partner you will need to take steps to protect yourself.

Embracing your future

Navigating the world of vasectomies can be daunting, but being informed makes all the difference. The snip offers not just a reliable contraceptive method but also a sense of empowerment in family planning and birth control. While the decision is deeply personal, understanding what to know about vasectomy can aid in making a choice that aligns with your future goals.

Here’s to making well-informed choices for a planned tomorrow!


Will the procedure be painful?

A local anaesthetic is used to numb the scrotum area during the procedure so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort. Post the vasectomy you may experience mild discomfort in the genital area which can be relieved with ice packs and over-the-counter analgesia such as paracetamol.

Can a vasectomy fail?

The success rates of vasectomies are reported at over 99%, however, there is still a slight chance of failure. The procedure is classed as a failure if the semen sample at the 6-month check-up contains sperm.

How soon after the procedure can I have sex?

It is recommended to refrain from sex for at least a week after your procedure to allow time to heal and fully recover and your doctors send you written confirmation of your clearance. We also strongly recommend you don’t have unprotected sex until your semen samples have come back free of all the sperm.

What are the potential long-term complications?

Long-term complications from a vasectomy are rare. However, some men might experience chronic pain (post-vasectomy pain syndrome) that can last for months or even years, although this is uncommon. There’s also a small risk of developing a lump (sperm granuloma) or an infection. It is also vital to note that this doesn’t protect you against sexually transmitted diseases or prostate cancer.

Dr Luke Wee

About The Author

Dr Luke Wee

Meet Luke, our very own vasman. NZ men benefit from his hands-on experience in performing nearly 3,000 vasectomies! Luke has a special interest in men’s health and vasectomy procedures. He’s a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, a member of the Association of Surgeons in Primary Care and an international vasectomy peer group. Luke keeps his thumb on the pulse and consistently updates his skills and knowledge by attending national and international conferences.

Ask Us a Question

Have a query about vasectomies or family planning? Our dedicated team is here to help! Drop us a line with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the procedure, recovery, or any other aspect of vasectomy. We’re committed to providing informative and personalised answers to support your decision-making process.

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