Vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception for men, which is very popular in Australia. It involves a short procedure that is usually well tolerated under local anaesthetic. The procedure involves dividing the vas deferens, which carry sperm from the left and right testes to the prostate to join the rest of the constituents of the ejaculate. Over the period of about 2 months the testes stop producing mature sperm although the immature cells are still created and reabsorbed. The procedure is done through a very small incision in the middle of the scrotum or can be done in the ‘no scalpel’ approach, which still involves breaking the scrotal skin to approach the vas with sharp forceps.
The procedure takes about 20 minutes and post operatively men should plan to be at home for 3 days and avoiding sport and heavy lifting for 1 week.
This procedure does not change or compromise sexual function although it is desirable to refrain for 2-3 days after the procedure. The testosterone production by the testes and the erectile response of the penis is not affected.
Vasectomies can be reversed but success depends on the level of antibodies rather than the surgical reversal. If reversal is unsuccessful, immature sperm cells can be retrieved from the testicle by biopsy and used in IVF procedures with good efficacy.