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A vasectomy is an operation to cut the vas deferens, which are the two tubes which connect the testes (testicles) to the penis. Also sometimes referred to as a 'deferentectomy', the operation is performed as a permanent form of contraception.

In Australia approximately 1 in 4 men over forty years of age opt to have a vasectomy and over 25,000 men undergo the operation in Australia every year.

Once a vasectomy has been performed the patient is unable to father a child naturally, although generally a semen analysis is carried out 4-6 months after the procedure to verify that it has been successful, and it is only at this point that other types of contraception can be stopped. Sexual activity can start again within a week to ten days after the operation, however other forms of contraception must be used until the analysis is carried out.

Although it may be possible to reverse a vasectomy, the procedure is generally considered permanent and for this reason men considering the operation are advised to consider the long term implications of the procedure on future life, should circumstances change for the patient and his family and partner.

What is involved in the procedure?

A vasectomy operation takes no longer than 30 minutes to perform and normally involves a small incision under either general or local anaesthetic. This procedure is scheduled as a day case.