The ins and outs of vasectomies from people who had them and one who is scared to
What you need to know about getting ‘the snip’.
To snip, or not to snip? (iStock)
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To snip or not to snip? It's a minor surgery but considering the location of where things need to be snipped, you may be more than a little apprehensive. And, you're not the only one. 

Here's a look at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding a vasectomy, as well as the real life experiences of men who have undergone the procedure and one who needs to know a few specific things before going through with it. 


Where do I start? 

You can approach your GP and then be referred to a urologist, or call your local government hospital or clinic (like Marie Stopes) that offers vasectomies. 

It’s quite easy to make an appointment and some doctors will insist on written permission from your partner, but this doesn’t happen in many cases according to the people interviewed for this article and is still a much easier process than cisgender female sterilisation. 

“I was asked if I was sure, but it wasn't a big issue. It was simply part of the pre-procedure interview. There was no pushback or negativity,” says Peter, 53, who had the surgery when he was 30. 

“The process was really simple,” says George, 39, who had a vasectomy recently. “I had my appointment and was scheduled for surgery straight away. The specialist explained everything to me, including risks and post-op care. 

“He made sure to explain that I had to ejaculate 15-25 times post-op and then submit a sperm test in order to verify the success of the operation before my partner [could] come off contraception.”

Abigail says she had her vasectomy pre-transition, before she had fully accepted being transgender, but even though she wanted it, she didn’t proceed because her former partner didn’t want the “door to be closed” and her doctor told her she was too young.

Eventually, a decade later, she had the op done with permission from her former partner and some determination.

“And when I finally had the realisation that I too could actually like take hormones and never have functional guy bits ever again anyway, the vasectomy was tied up in the whole bitter sweetness of paths-untravelled,” she says. 

What happens when they do ‘the snip’?

Generally, the procedure is done under local anaesthetic. You’ll also be required to shave your genitals to help prevent infection.

When Matt, 43, was told this, he went a bit overboard as he wasn’t given any instruction: “By the time I had finished, I was hairless from my knees to my sternum.

Went through about six razors. “[On the day, the consultant] then examined the area, saw how much I had shaved and was [blatantly] cracking up. She had to excuse herself quickly and I KNOW she was going to have a giggle somewhere!”The procedure takes about 20 – 30 minutes to complete, says Clicks.

The traditional procedure involves making two small incisions on either side of the scrotum so the surgeon can see the vas deferens.

These are the tubes that carry the sperm from the testicles to storage areas near the prostate gland which all work together during ejaculation.

These tubes are divided so that sperm no longer gets through. There is also a ‘no scalpel’ method, which is less invasive. 

Will it hurt? 

Well, yes. But mildly. It’s still surgery, but your pain should be mild enough to take a few aspirins to deal with it and you should be able to drive yourself home the same day.

Although, George (along with every other person I spoke to) says he wasn’t told by his specialist about the possible bruising and swelling.

“My testicles looked like they had been driven over by a tank and then beaten up by a mob of angry gym boets. It was intense! The pain is like a constant dull ache. It hurts to stand up or sit down, but walking, sitting and lying down are pain-free,” he says. 

Bernard, a 40-year-old man who had the procedure in 2013, confirms this: “I have been kicked in the groin before. This was similar to the feeling about 10 seconds after the kick.”

When can I have sex again? 

As soon as you’re comfortable to, according to Patient.info, but take it easy as things will probably still be a bit tender down there. 

Bernard says he can’t quite remember, but he thinks it was about three weeks. “…but that's just for sex involving MY genitals.

There was lots of fun to be had that didn't require my genitals, and I feel like we maybe only waited 3 or 4 days for that,” he says.

“I was ready to have sex again within a week,” says Peter. Matt says it was two months before he was completely pain free and ready to have penetrative sex again. 

Is it effective immediately?

“We had to keep using condoms until it was confirmed that the surgery was successful, which was about two months afterwards I think,” says James, 34.

Planned Parenthood says vasectomies are almost 100% effective, but it takes about three months for semen to be sperm free.

Your doctor will ask you to do a semen analysis after a few months by either masturbating into a cup or using a special condom during sex and will tell you if there is any sperm in the ejaculate or not. 

Will it affect my sex drive?

It shouldn’t but Wayne says his libido decreased significantly for about 6 months after the op.

“It took even longer to get the same pleasure from orgasm post-op compared to before the op,” he says.

There’s no evidence that vasectomies decrease sex drive at all as it doesn’t affect the production of testosterone, but a urologist in Beverley Hills, Dr Turek, does say that this concern should be taken seriously because there are often other factors (most likely pain) at play.

Speak to your doctor if you do have a decrease in libido.

It’s just a simple operation, right? Do I don’t need to be scared? 

Your feelings are valid, but that doesn’t mean it should stop you from considering this as a real contraceptive option since the risk of complications, even long-term ones, is one to two percent.

Murray, who is 33 and has two kids, is his wife’s full-time carer and is concerned how any risks would impact his family.

“On top of that, I have a really low sex drive at the best of times. This causes a lot of arguments and stress in my relationship anyway, and I can't imagine pain in my nuts helping that!” he says.

He’s done research, spoken to other men, etc, but says the idea still makes him sick.

“I know I probably won't have any more children, but on the off chance that I ever want to, or help someone else that wants to, I'd not be able to. And that scares me, big time,” says Murray. 

How will I feel after?

Every person interviewed for this article who has had the procedure done, says they did not regret the decision.

Wayne did regret it in the beginning with the decreased libido, but is now happy. George says: “I'm really proud of having a vasectomy.

I feel like it's a statement of ‘I can take responsibility too’, instead of leaving it to my partner to make sure we don't have another kid.

This is something I could do and take ownership of. I love that I had the opportunity.”

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