Vasectomy: Condition Information

A vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed as a method of birth control. It involves cutting the vas deferens (pronounced VAS DEF-uh-renz) in order to close off the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles (there is one vas deferens per testicle). If a man has a successful vasectomy, he can no longer get a woman pregnant.1

Sperm are made in the two testicles, which are inside the scrotum. Sperm is stored in a tube attached to each testicle called the epididymis (pronounced ep-i-DID-uh-mis). When a man ejaculates, the sperm travel from the epididymis, through the vas deferens, and then mix with seminal fluid to form semen. The semen then travels through the urethra (pronounced yoo-REE-thruh) and out the penis. 

Before a vasectomy, semen contains sperm and seminal fluid. After a vasectomy, sperm are no longer in the semen.2 The man's testicles will make less sperm over time, and his body will harmlessly absorb any sperm that are made.3


  1. MedlinePlus. (2010). Vasectomy. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002995.htm
  2. American Urological Association Foundation. (2011). Vasectomy. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=53 External Web Site Policy
  3. FamilyDoctor.org. (2010). Vasectomy: What to expect. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/sex-birth-control/birth-control/vasectomy-what-to-expect.html External Web Site Policy