Male sterilisation

Male sterilisation is a surgical procedure that provides permanent contraception.

The failure rate is about one pregnancy in two thousand men every year.

How does it work?

In the sterilisation procedure, the tubes carrying the sperm are cut. This means that the sperm is no longer in the man’s semen, the fluid that spurts out of his penis when he ejaculates.


  • Sterilisation is useful for couples who have completed their families.
  • Sterilisation does not affect erectile function.
  • The procedure can be done in a doctor’s surgery or clinic under local anaesthetic.


  • The procedure should be considered permanent.
  • It is difficult to reverse and attempts to do so often fail.
  • It is not effective immediately. It may take four to six months or more until the sperm have completely gone.
  • May reverse spontaneously and expose the couple to pregnancies, although this is rare.
  • You can have discomfort and swelling for a short time after the procedure.
  • There can be major complications, for example infection or swelling.
  • Approximately one in 20 men have ongoing discomfort.
  • Sterilisation does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

For more information, please visit your GP or family planning clinic.