Both men and women can have surgery as a permanent form of contraception.
For men the procedure is called a vasectomy, where a small incision in the scrotum cuts the tubes that carry sperm to the penis. Normal ejaculation still occurs after vasectomy, but the semen does not contain sperm (‘shooting blanks’). The operation is usually done under local anaesthetic and takes about 15 minutes. However, additional contraception needs to be used for two months after the operation as live sperm can persist for some time after vasectomy. The failure rate is 1 in 2000.
For women, sterilisation involves cutting, blocking or sealing off the fallopian tubes. There are several different methods of doing this, and depending on how it is done the anaesthetic may be either local or general, with a hospital stay of a day or more. Other contraception needs to be used until after the first period following the procedure. The failure rate is 1 in 200.
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