Semen Testing

When can I stop using other contraception?

The vasectomy procedure is not immediately effective as a form of contraception. Because there are still sperm in the vas deferens above the site of the operation it can take quite a number of ejaculations to clear the sperm, so it is essential to continue an alternative method of contraception until you are informed by us that your system is clear of sperm.

We encourage you to flush-out these sperms by having regular ejaculations after your operation. – At least twice or three times a week (aiming for a minimum of 30 ejaculations). We ask you to provide us with samples of your semen at 14 & 16 weeks post-operatively for testing. Once these tests confirm absence of sperm, we will inform you that it is safe to discontinue using other forms of contraception.

How and when do I send my semen samples?

Your specimens are due to be sent 14 and 16 weeks after the operation on the dates marked on the bottles. We ask you to wait until then because this is the period of time in which there is the greatest risk of the tubes re-joining. If you cannot send the specimens on the dates requested please change the date on the bottle so that the laboratory will know how old the specimen is. Please check to see that you are sending the bottles in the right order so as to avoid confusion.

Remember it takes at least 25 ejaculations to clear the sperm from the system (and in some cases many more), so if you have a period of sexual inactivity after your operation, you may need to postpone the dates for your test since you may not have "cleared" yet.

Specimens may be collected either directly into the bottle or by using a non-lubricated (dry) condom and emptying the semen into the bottle. DO NOT send the condom in the bottle as this contaminates the specimen. PLEASE securely tighten the top of the bottle.

Providing you live in the Bristol, South Gloucestershire or North Somerset areas you will be able to deliver the samples in the containers provided directly to your own GP’s surgery for analysis at the approved hospital laboratory.

How will I know the result of the specimen?

You should receive notification of your results within a fortnight of sending the second specimen. (Please note that results are not sent after the first specimen, but only after both have been tested). This is to maintain confidentiality and to avoid the risk of error. Please let us know if your address changes after your operation and before the results are due to be sent.

About 8 - 10% of men need more than two tests before clearance, and some need more than four, so please don't worry if you get a letter asking for further specimens. If at any stage we feel that your operation has not been successful, we will tell you at once, and, of course, we will perform a re-operation at no cost in the very rare cases where one of the tubes re-joins.