What is male sterilisation?

The intention of a vasectomy is to make
 a man sterile and no longer capable of fathering further children. You should therefore not think about having a vasectomy unless you are absolutely sure that you will never want another child.

All vasectomy procedures at Sandyford are carried out under local anaesthesia. Local anaesthetic is injected under the skin surface of the scrotum to freeze the area. The aim of the procedure is to remove a portion of the tube (Vas deferens) from both sides of the scrotum. To achieve this, local anaesthetic is injected under the skin on either side of the scrotum. A small cut is made in the skin and a small portion of the tube 
is removed. The ends of the tube are then destroyed by passing a small electrical needle down the centre of each tube. A single stitch may be used to close the wound on the skin. The stitches normally dissolve themselves within 1-3 weeks. 
Please note, the doctor will complete one side of the procedure before starting on 
the other.

Please note at Sandyford the vasectomy procedure is only performed under 
local anaesthetic. If you would prefer
 the procedure performed under general anaesthetic, we can discuss this at your counselling appointment and refer as appropriate.

It is also important that we have a current record of your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is a measurement of your height and your current weight. If your BMI is above 35 then the procedure will not be performed. The reasons for this are because it will make the procedure technically more difficult and there is a greater risk of complications.

After the procedure

There will be some discomfort for the following 48 hours. Most men have some bruising and swelling. If you are employed we recommend you arrange to take the next day or two off work. The scrotum should be kept well supported by keeping off your feet as much as possible. Wearing tight fitting underpants often helps. The area can be bathed the following day. Adding salt to bath water can help healing. Any stitches should dissolve themselves.

How long does it take to become effective?

After the procedure you will be given a specimen container and form that will be needed for your sample. One ejaculate specimen should be collected by incomplete intercourse and withdrawal or by masturbation, directly into the container. The container should be handed into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in the envelope provided at 16 weeks post procedure.

A negative specimen is required to confirm that the procedure has been successful. If 
the specimen shows the presence of sperm, 
a further container will be sent to you. It can take up to 12 months to confirm the procedure has been successful.

It is extremely important that contraception is continued to be used until we have informed you of the success of your vasectomy. Regular ejaculation helps clear the sperm.


Once we have received a sample free of sperm, we will inform you and your G.P. of the vasectomy success. Once you have received this confirmation, it will not be necessary 
to use further contraception. The letter will be sent to you approximately 2 weeks after the sample has been received. Please do not phone for results, we will contact you by post.

Failure/Risk of Pregnancy

The initial risk that the operation has not worked is 1 in 100 men.
This will be picked up by the samples you send in.
If this occurs the operation will need to be repeated.
Once the operation has been confirmed as successful, the risk of pregnancy is 1:1000 after 5 years and 1:5000 after 10 years.

Are there any disadvantages?

It is a permanent method of contraception.

  • Reversible procedures cannot be done on the NHS.
  • A vasectomy excludes men from free NHS Fertility treatment, if desired in the future.  
  • Sterilisation does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections.
  • Need to use reliable contraception until we have confirmed the procedure has been successful. This will be at least 20 weeks following the procedure.

What do I do if I want to have a vasectomy

It is possible for you to make an appointment at Sandyford to discuss and arrange your vasectomy. You do not need to be referred by your GP. If you wish to proceed, an appointment should be made for discussion at Sandyford Central in Glasgow (telephone 0141 211 8654 for an appointment). During this discussion a specialist nurse will tell you about all aspects of the procedure including the failure rate and known complications. There will be an opportunity to discuss in confidence any questions or issues you may have regarding vasectomy. If you wish to proceed, you will sign your consent form and you can then make the appointment for your operation. Appointments are available at Sandyford Central, Monday to Friday.

At the assessment appointment

Our clinics run weekly on Monday and Tuesday. We offer individual assessment, which your partner can also attend.  During the assessment appointment all aspects of the procedure will be discussed including the failure rate and known complications.  If you decide to go ahead you will be asked to sign a consent form. This appointment usually lasts 10-15 minutes. 

If you wish to proceed to a vasectomy operation, you will be given an operation date at the time of the assessment appointment.

Only condoms can provide protection against most infections.

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