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 16 weeks post-operatively for testing. Once your test confirms 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 specimen is due to be sent 16 weeks after the operation on the date marked on the bottle. 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 specimen on the date requested please change the date on the bottle so that the laboratory will know how old the specimen is. 

Remember it takes at least 30 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 are best collected directly into the bottle. PLEASE securely tighten the top of the bottle.

Post-vasectomy semen samples are analysed at the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM) at Southmead Hospital. The best and most reliable results are obtained if you deliver your specimen directly to the BCRM laboratory. We will provide instructions how to arrange this.

How will I know the result of the specimen?

You should receive notification of your results within a fortnight of sending the specimen. Please let us know if your address or contact details change 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, 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.