Effectiveness of a Vasectomy : A guide to Vasectomy

Most men are concerned about the success or failure rates of vasectomy as they are looking for a permanent form of contraception.

Success rates following a vasectomy are high but no surgery is 100% successful.

But vasectomy is a very effective form of sterilisation with less than 1% reporting failure (e.g. tubes join together again).

How effective is vasectomy compared to other forms of contraception?

Vasectomy is more effective than other forms of contraception, for example condoms or the withdrawal method. That’s not to say that these and other methods are not effective just that they are less so than a vasectomy. However a combination of methods, such as the contraceptive pill and a condom can increase their effectiveness.

Female methods of contraception such as tubal ligation are as equally effective as a vasectomy as is the contraceptive pill.

However, contraceptive pills work well as long as the woman remembers to take them whereas a vasectomy is permanent and doesn’t require any further intervention.

Vasectomy failure

This can be categorised into the following:

    • Short term failure
    • Long term failure

A short term failure can occur during the recovery period and is detected during a semen test. If your semen contains sperm then it is an indication that your tubes also contain sperm which means that further surgery is needed. This second procedure will be performed at no extra cost as it has occurred during the healing process.

Long term failure is rarer than short term failure and is used to describe a state in which the tubes heal and then join together again. This can happen after a few years following surgery and is also detected via semen testing.

It is a good idea to undergo semen testing on an annual or regular basis to check if the surgery is still effective or failure has occurred. If the original surgery has failed then a further procedure will be needed to correct the problem.

How do you know if the surgery has been a success? If your semen is free of sperm then you will be given the ‘all clear’which means that the vasectomy has been successful. But continue to use contraception after your surgery until you are given the all clear.

Semen testing isn’t free but the cost of a test is relatively minimal and far less than that of an unwanted pregnancy.

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