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A vasectomy (male sterilisation) is an effective form of birth control whereby the vas deferens, the ducts that carry sperm from the testicles, are cut and tied or sealed off. It prevents sperm from being released during ejaculation. Vasectomies are generally considered a safer and less expensive option than female sterilisation. It doesn’t affect erections or sex drive. The sensation of ejaculation is unchanged, but the semen won’t contain sperm. 

A vasectomy is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and takes about 20 minutes. It is important to remember that a vasectomy isn’t immediately effective because sperm will still be in the remaining tubes and will take time to clear, so there is still a risk of pregnancy during this time, and additional contraception will be required for at least 8 to 12 weeks after the operation.

About 12 weeks after the vasectomy, a sample of semen will be tested for sperm. Some men may need two tests. If these tests are confirmed to be sperm-free, the vasectomy is considered successful, and additional contraception can be discontinued.

Risks of a vasectomy include a bruised scrotum, and a small percentage of men have ongoing pain in their testicles (chronic scrotal pain). As with any surgery, there’s a small risk of wound infection. 

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