Vasectomy is one of the best forms of contraception available, but no method is 100 percent effective except abstinence from sexual intercourse. Vasectomy is a common yet permanent method of sterilisation in men. It is an operation in which the two “vas” tubes (the vas deferens) are cut and tied. This blocks the flow of sperm from the testicles into the penis, so that when the man ejaculates the semen does not contain sperm. Sperm is what makes a woman pregnant. There is no change to the volume and appearance of the semen.
The 30-minute operation can be performed under a local anaesthetic or intravenous sedation. Every precaution is taken to separate the tubes so they do not rejoin. The failure rate is about 1 in 5,000 after the first negative sperm count. There are minimal side effects associated with the procedure.
Vasectomy has no effect on a man’s sex drive and performance, and normal sexual activity can be started when you feel comfortable after the vasectomy, although it is important to use some form of contraception until the sperm count is zero because you will not be immediately sterile. At 3 months after the operation it is necessary to have a sperm count to make sure the semen has no sperm.
Although vasectomy should be regarded as permanent and irreversible, the procedure can be reversed via microsurgery. As a general rule about 50 to 80 percent of vasectomy reversals lead to successful pregnancy (depending on the surgeon).
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