Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Vasectomy

5-minute read

Key facts

  • A vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception, and can rarely be reversed.
  • It is a surgical procedure that prevents your sperm from leaving your penis when you ejaculate.
  • A vasectomy does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • A vasectomy can take 3 months or sometimes longer to take full effect – in the meantime, use other contraception if you don’t want to become a parent.

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is a form of contraception. From the time you have a vasectomy, you are unlikely to have more children from sexual intercourse.

A vasectomy doesn't change your libido (sexual desire) or ability to reach orgasm. It won't stop the production of semen.

A vasectomy can sometimes be reversed, but it is generally permanent.

What vasectomy procedure will I have?

There are two ways you can have a vasectomy operation:

  • Open procedure method 1 or 2 small openings are made in the front of your scrotum. Your doctor will then cut and seal the vas deferens (the tube that carries the sperm) connected to each testicle. The opening in the scrotum is closed with a stitch or by pressing the skin edges together.
  • No-scalpel vasectomy ­1 or 2 small punctures are made in your scrotum with fine sharp forceps and each vas deferens is cut as in the open procedure. No stitches are required for this method.

The result of either operation means that your sperm can no longer reach your penis when you ejaculate.

The procedure takes about 20 to 40 minutes and usually happens under a local anaesthetic.

illustration of a vascetomy
Illustration of normal male anatomy showing where the vas deferens which is cut during a vasectomy.

What to expect after a vasectomy

After the anaesthetic wears off and for a few days after surgery you will have some bruising as well as pain and swelling in the groin or scrotum area. Paracetamol can help relieve your pain.

During the days after your procedure, you should contact your doctor, medical clinic or local hospital if any of the following happens:

  • severe bruising, or purple/blue colour of the skin
  • severe pain not relieved by paracetamol
  • significant swelling
  • significant redness around the cut area that could be a sign of infection

It is important to rest for a few days and avoid heavy lifting to ease the pain and swelling. Pain medicine, supportive underwear or ice packs can also help.

Your doctor will give you information about how to care for the wound, and when you can resume sexual activity.

How soon will a vasectomy work?

A vasectomy can take several months and up to 20 ejaculations to clear the sperm in the vas deferens after the procedure. A semen test 3 months after the procedure will tell you if it is safe to stop using other forms of contraception.

A very small proportion of vasectomies fail. This is why it is important to use contraception until a semen test is clear.

STI prevention

A vasectomy does not protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is important to continue using condoms if there is any risk of STIs.

Can a vasectomy be reversed?

A vasectomy is generally permanent. Sometimes it is possible to re-join the vas tubes, but this does not guarantee you will be able to produce more children. The chances of success decrease with time after the procedure.

If you’ve had a vasectomy and want to have more children, you may be able to have your sperm retrieved directly from your testes for assisted reproductive techniques, such as IVF.

If you’ve not yet had a vasectomy, but think you may want children later, you can ask to have some sperm frozen. Talk to your doctor before arranging the procedure.

More information

Talk with your doctor about your contraception and fertility options. You can also read more about other forms of contraception.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: June 2022


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

No Scalpel Vasectomy Australia | MSI Vasectomy

Take full control of your reproductive choices with a 'no scalpel open-ended’ vasectomy in Australia with MSI Vasectomy.

Read more on MSI Australia website

Reverse Vasectomy Success Rate | MSI Vasectomy

Considering a vasectomy reversal but unsure what the reverse vasectomy success rate is? Read on to find out all of the information you’ll need.

Read more on MSI Australia website

Your Complete Guide To A Vasectomy Procedure | MSI Vasectomy

Considering having a vasectomy but want to know more about the vasectomy procedure itself? Find all the info you need in our complete guide.

Read more on MSI Australia website

Vasectomy What To Expect | MSI Australia

Watch a video or read a transcript about vasectomy what to expect and how to prepare for a vasectomy procedure and service at a MSI Australia vasectomy clinic.

Read more on MSI Australia website

Vasectomy | Family Planning NSW

Vasectomy is a popular method of contraception for men. About one in four Australian men over the age of 40 has had a vasectomy.

Read more on Family Planning Australia website

Vasectomy and Your Sex Life - MSI Australia

There’s a lot of misinformation around vasectomies and sex post-vasectomy. In fact, most people don’t understand what’s involved in the procedure or the impact it can have on your body and sex life. So let’s look at what a vasectomy is NOT!

Read more on MSI Australia website

Vasectomy | the snip - Sexual Health Victoria

Vasectomy is minor surgery which block the tubes that carry the sperm. This method of contraception is sometimes also called sterilisation or “the snip”.

Read more on Sexual Health Victoria website

Clinical Services - Vasectomy | MSI Australia

An accessible HTML version of the vasectomy booklet published by MSI Australia. It contains important information for clients about their procedure.

Read more on MSI Australia website

Vasectomy, Procedure & Risk | Healthy Male

A vasectomy is a surgical operation that cuts the tubes (called the vas deferens or the ‘vas’) that carry the sperm from the testicles to the tip of the penis. Men generally get vasectomies to prevent pregnancy with a partner. It’s a very effective, safe and permanent form of contraception.

Read more on Healthy Male website

Vasectomy Support and Decision Making | MSI Australia

MSI Australia vasectomy is a safe, painless, no-scalpel procedure performed by a specialist vasectomy doctor using the latest minimally invasive techniques. No referral required. Sedation and evening appointment options available. Contact us to discuss your options.

Read more on MSI Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.