Vasectomy is the name given to the operation which makes men infertile by blocking sperm from getting into the seminal fluid during ejaculation. It is the most efficient form of permanent male contraception available with a failure rate of less the 0.1%. After a vasectomy your testes will continue to produce sperm and the male hormone testosterone normally, so your sex drive and libido are unaltered. As the sperm will be unable to exit through the vas tubes, they will be reabsorbed (and recycled) by the body in the same process that naturally occurs to any unused sperm.
There is no link between vasectomy and increased rates of heart disease, male menopause, cancer of the testes or prostate.
In traditional vasectomy, two incisions (cuts) are made in the scrotum (ouch!) and through these each vas is located, cut and both ends tied. The skin wounds are then closed with stitches.
The Scalpel Free Vasectomy technique (SFV) or no scalpel vasectomy (NSV) is a minimally invasive technique used to perform a vasectomy. It has lower rates of complications such as pain, infection or bleeding and is now the preferred method of performing a vasectomy. It is a simple procedure (but still better performed by doctors with training than DIY!) that can be performed in the clinic with special equipment under local anaesthetic and oral sedation. Overall, there is minimal discomfort and recovery is faster compared to traditional vasectomy.
Vasectomy should be considered permanent as reversal procedures are expensive and not always successful.
During a scalpel free vasectomy procedure 'no sting' local anaesthetic is used in the skin in front of the scrotum. There are no injections or cuts into the testes. Using special instruments, both vas tubes are located and gently isolated from the rest of scrotal structures.
A single small opening, ~5mm in size is made in the centre of the scrotum below the penis without using a blade. This small opening will close rapidly and heal without needing stitches. A ~2cm part of each vas tube is removed and both ends are sealed without any clips or stitches and then returned to their normal position within the scrotum. Once the incision heals there will be a small scar that will fade over time.
Overall, there is very little discomfort and recovery is faster compared to traditional vasectomy. It is recommended that men rest and take it easy for the first couple of days after vasectomy. Sexual activity, using another form of contraception, can resume within a few of days of a vasectomy, when you feel up to it (pun intended).
Men are not immediately sterile after the operation. There can be sperm in the semen for many months after the operation (rarely up to 18 months). You need to continue to use contraception until postoperative sperm tests have been carried out and you have at least one satisfactory sperm test showing no more live (motile) sperm.Andrology Australia Fact Sheet