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What men in Edinburgh and the Lothians ask us before a Vasectomy: Will it hurt? What are the risks?

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The Edinburgh Clinic’s Consultant Surgeons have performed thousands of Vasectomies and here are their answers to the most frequent questions patients ask

What is a vasectomy?

Put simply, a vasectomy is the careful closing of the two tubes which carry sperm from the testes at the moment of ejaculation.

During a vasectomy these tubes, known as the vas, each have a small section removed, and then all four ‘open’ ends are individually tied off and separated using layers of tissue to isolate them from each other.

Why would I want a vasectomy anyway?

If you enjoy an active sex life and you are sure you don’t want to have children as a result, then a vasectomy is a very simple and effective way to ensure that.

It’s a permanent form of contraception which can remove the need for other forms of contraception such as condoms* or the Pill, take away the risk of any ‘accidents’ and avoid the need for awkward pauses, questions or conversations.

* Please note that a vasectomy does not protect either partner from sexually transmitted diseases or infections so taking precautions in relation to casual sex remains highly important.

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How reliable is a vasectomy? Does it always work?

No method of contraception ever can be 100% guaranteed, but vasectomy is considered 99.95% effective, a higher rate than any other form.

For comparison, typical condom use is only 82% effective in preventing pregnancy, with birth control pills typically only reaching 91% effectiveness.

Other forms of contraception, for women, such as implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) can have similar, though still inferior, effectiveness rates as vasectomies, also passing 99%. However these methods are more invasive and are not permanent, lasting between 3-10 years.

After you have a vasectomy, your semen will be tested at 12 and 16 weeks, to check for the appearance of any sperm. If none is present, your vasectomy is considered successful and complete.

Do I have to have my scrotum cut open to have a vasectomy?

No, not at all! Although the procedure is still sometimes colloquially known as The Snip (or other similarly dramatic names), it’s actually a very straightforward and relatively non-invasive process.

With our specialist Non-Scalpel Vasectomy, one or two small incisions are all that are required for your Doctor to locate the vas themselves before carefully disconnecting and sealing them. The entry point is then closed off using dissolving sutures which last about 2 weeks before gradually disappearing.

So does having a vasectomy hurt?

It shouldn’t do, no. Local anaesthetic will be used to numb the area, and the procedure itself should only take around 20 or 30 minutes to complete.

You’ll be fully awake during the procedure and you don’t even have to avoid having food or drink before your vasectomy. Other than some slight discomfort while the vasectomy is taking place, there should be no issues and you’ll be back home the same day.

What happens after I have a vasectomy? How soon after can I have sex?

As long as you are comfortable it is safe to resume sexual activity almost immediately after your vasectomy.

As mentioned above, it’s possible for some sperm to remain present for a few months after a vasectomy. This is not because the vasectomy has failed but simply because of residual sperm present before the procedure which had not yet been naturally emitted by the reproductive tubes.

As a result, regular contraception to avoid pregnancy is advised until after the 12 and 16 week samples have been checked. Plus, as noted, vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted infection or disease so standard safe-sex precautions should still always be adhered to.


How much does a vasectomy cost and how can I arrange to discuss one?

The costs of all The Edinburgh Clinic treatments and procedures are kept up to date on our Guide Prices page. You will find Vasectomy in the Investigations and Procedures section. To find out more, please visit our Vasectomy page, or arrange to talk to one of our experts about the benefits and considerations around having a vasectomy using the contact information below.

To contact us, please call 0131 447 2340 or use our enquiry form

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