Caring and experienced, Dr David Ward performs vasectomies under general anaesthetic at Albany Health Campus and Albany Day Hospital.

If you’re thinking about having a vasectomy, feel free to make an appointment with Dr Ward in Denmark. He can answer all of your questions before you make a decision.

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that sterilises a man, preventing him from fathering children. Essentially, it is a highly effective form of contraception.

During the operation, the surgeon cuts and seals off the vas deferens tubes that carry sperm from your testicles to your penis. This stops your sperm from mixing with your semen and reaching your penis.

Why have a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a safe and permanent means of contraception. You may choose to have a vasectomy because:

  • The risk of an unwanted pregnancy is almost completely eliminated
  • There is no need to remember to take or use regular contraception
  • Your partner no longer wants to use hormones, implants or devices
  • Female sterilisation is a larger procedure with more complications than male sterilisation

How long before it is effective?

You will not be sterile immediately. It takes about three months for sperm to be cleared and for you to be considered sterile. Following your procedure, it’s important to have your semen tested at the three-month mark to make sure there are no sperm remaining. You cannot assume that you are sterile until this test comes back clear.

A very small proportion of vasectomies fail, so it’s important to use contraception until a semen test is clear.

Will a vasectomy affect my sexual function?

Physically, a vasectomy makes no difference to your sex drive or performance, other than a very small reduction in the volume of ejaculation fluid.

Testosterone and semen production also remain unaffected (apart from sperm no longer being mixed into the semen).

Many men report that their sex life actually improves because they no longer worry about contraception failure like they did with other methods.

What are the possible complications from a vasectomy?

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Common side effects of a vasectomy include:

  • Discomfort
  • Tenderness and bruising on or around the scrotum
  • Bleeding inside the scrotum and blood in the semen for a few days after the operation

This can usually relieved with rest, ice packs, simple pain medications and supportive underwear.

More serious complications are extremely rare and can include:

  • Haematoma – this is where blood collects and clots in the scrotum
  • Sperm granulomas – sperm can sometimes leak from the cut tubes and in rare cases collect and form hard lumps called sperm granulomas
  • Infection
  • Long-term pain – due to a pinched nerve or scarring
  • Testicles feeling full – as the epididymis becomes filled with stored sperm
  • Becoming fertile again – if the vas deferens reconnects