Terrence Higgins Trust uses cookies to improve your experience of our websites. For more information or to change the use of cookies, please click here.

Accept and Close

Vasectomy

Vasectomy

Vasectomy (male sterilisation) is also known as the snip.

What is it?

A vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception. Once a man has had the procedure, he will not be able to get a woman pregnant.


How does it work?

A vasectomy involves cutting, blocking or sealing the vas deferens tubes. This prevents sperm from travelling from the testicles to the penis.

This is done under local anaesthetic, takes about 15 minutes, and does not require a stay in hospital.


How effective is it?

Having a vasectomy is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.


Advantages of a vasectomy:

Having a vasectomy is designed to be permanent, so you won’t need to think about contraception again after this procedure.


Disadvantages of a vasectomy:

It is not 100% effective - in a very small number of cases the vas deferens may rejoin, meaning the man becomes fertile again.

It is not easily reversed, so it is important to be absolutely certain that having a vasectomy is right for you.


Things to bear in mind:

Having a vasectomy is a big decision to make, and your doctor or nurse will probably recommend you think things through carefully (or have counselling) before going ahead, so that you can fully explore all the issues. It is not usually offered to young men who have not had any children.

Vasectomies are not immediately effective because there can still be some sperm left in the tubes leading to the penis. For this reason it is important to use contraception until you are tested to check if any sperm is still present. You can only be certain the vasectomy has been successful when you've had a negative sperm test.

Having a vasectomy does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, like a condom does.


Where can I get it from and how much does it cost?

You can be referred for a free vasectomy on the NHS by a doctor. This can be your GP, another GP who you have registered with for family planning services, or a doctor at a sexual health clinic.

It is also possible to pay for private treatment, which costs from around £400.

 

Rate:

Empty Star Empty Star Empty Star Empty Star Empty Star (No votes cast) Please log in or register to vote. What's this?

Save:

Please log in or register to add this article to My favourites. What's this? Adding an article to My favourites will allow you to easily come back to it later or print it.


Your comments

You will need to be logged in before you can leave a comment.

Please log in using the form on the top right of the page or register.

The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 20/8/2015 by Allison Macbeth

Date due for the next review: 19/9/2018

Content Author: M. Tyson

Current Owner: Clinical services

More information:

NHS. Male sterilisation, January 2015

Marie Stopes. What is a vasectomy?

FPA. Sterilisation

RCOG. Guide to male and female sterilisation

 

Can't pass it on

People on effective treatment can't pass on HIV

If everyone knew this, we could bring an end to stigma and stop HIV transmissions.

map with pin

Service finder

Find GU clinics and services near you.

condoms

Condoms

The easiest and most effective precaution to take against most STIs is using a condom.