Male sterilisation (vasectomy) means ‘cutting the vas’, the ‘vas deferens’ being the tubes that carry sperm from the scrotum to the penis.
The vasectomy is normally performed by a urologist in surgery, so it requires no hospital admission. The vasectomy takes about a quarter of an hour. A local anaesthetic is injected into the scrotum. Then the doctor makes a small cut in the skin of the scrotum, exposes a small piece of each tube, then cut the tubes and closes the ends. Then surgical tape is applied and you can go home. You can expect to feel some pain (as if you have been hit by something).
Sex is possible as soon as you feel up to it, which may be the next day after the vasectomy. Sexual feelings, arousal, erection and climax are not affected by the vasectomy. The testicles produce male hormones just as they did before the vasectomy. The appearance and amount of semen are also the same as before. Sperm are still produced by the testicles but they are blocked from reaching the penis. They are absorbed by the body.
After the vasectomy there is still sperm in section of the tubes that lead to the penis. They can survive for many weeks. Therefore, sexual intercourse is not safe immediately after the vasectomy. You must come back for a sperm test after 8 weeks, and have another one about 4 weeks later. If both tests show no sperm in your semen, you can be sure you are infertile and have sexual intercourse without worry.
During this period of testing the result of the vasectomy, the use of an extra method of contraception is advised.
Sterilisation is for people who do not want children (any more). There is some reluctance –more often downright opposition- to perform vasectomy on couples without children, or single people under thirty. The reason given for this is that in the past such individuals have often come to regret their decision and have blamed doctors for helping them. Apparently the social and cultural pressure to have children can be very strong.