Ejaculation After Vasectomy

How long before you are completely sterile and what else you should know about sex after surgery

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You can safely ejaculate one to two weeks after a vasectomy, but will still need to use birth control for the first few months to avoid pregnancy. This is because sperm can still linger in ejaculate for about three months after the procedure.

Until you have undergone a semen analysis to confirm sterility, you will need to use condoms and/or your partner will need to use contraceptives or other methods of birth control.

This article will help you understand what to expect after undergoing a vasectomy, including recovery times and ways to prevent pregnancy until a semen analysis confirms your ejaculate is free of sperm and you are no longer able to conceive.

sterility after vasectomy
Verywell / Hilary Allison

Gender Definitions

For the purpose of this article, "male" refers to people with penises irrespective of the gender or genders they identify with.

Vasectomy Recovery: What to Expect

Following a vasectomy, you can expect soreness in the testicles and scrotum for a few days. You'll need to rest for 24 hours immediately following the surgery, putting your feet up and avoiding unnecessary walking.

You will need to keep the wound dry until the next day, then you may shower. There will be one or two small wounds on the scrotum that you will need to keep clean, changing the dressing regularly as directed by your surgeon. You can expect some bruising, swelling, and drainage. The bruising may even extend to the penis.

For the first couple of days, you can do light activities but will need to avoid sports, lifting, or any vigorous activity for around a week or so. Overdoing it can cause pain and bleeding inside the scrotum.

You can manage pain and swelling by applying an ice pack to the scrotum. Limit the ice application to no longer than 10 to 15 minutes, moving the pack constantly and placing a cloth barrier on the skin to avoid frostbite. Over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) can also help.

You can help stabilize the testicles by wearing a jockstrap or tight-fitting underwear.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following after undergoing a vasectomy:

  • Persistent or worsening pain, swelling, redness, and warmth
  • High fever with chills
  • A bloody or pus-like discharge from the wound
  • An opening incision (called wound dehiscence)
  • The inability to urinate (pee)

Sex After Vasectomy

You can usually have sex a week or so after a vasectomy but will need to avoid vigorous sex, including anything that might bump and knock the testicles.

Because it can take around three months until sterility is confirmed, you and your partner will need to use at least one form of birth control, such as:

Do not be surprised if you see some blood when you ejaculate. It is usually old blood, and nothing to worry about.

Libido (sex drive) and erections should not be affected by a vasectomy.

Confirming Sterility

Although you can safely have sex a week or two after a vasectomy, it takes time for sterility to be achieved. This is because the life cycle of sperm is around 63 days, and there may be traces left well after the surgery has been performed.

Studies have shown that 80% of males will be sterile after 15 ejaculations or six weeks after a vasectomy. By 10 weeks, 85% of males will have no sperm in their ejaculate.

Therefore, three months (12 weeks) or roughly 20 ejaculations is the general timeframe by which most males will be confirmed to be sterile.

Although most vasectomies are successful and without complications, there is a one in 2,000 failure rate. This is why birth control is essential until sterility is confirmed.

Semen Analysis

A semen analysis, also called a seminogram or spermiogram, evaluates the characteristics of a male's semen, including the number of sperm contained in it.

For your analysis, you will have to provide your healthcare provider with a semen sample. You would do this by masturbating into a specimen container. You will be provided with a private space to do this.

You should avoid ejaculating 24 to 72 hours before your collection, as this can reduce the sperm count and lead to an inaccurate result.

The test results are often considered more reliable if the semen is collected at the healthcare provider's office because it can be taken to the lab immediately.

You can masturbate into a specimen cup at home, but your semen must be kept at body temperature and delivered to the testing facility within 30 to 60 minutes. The fluid sample will then be examined under a microscope to see if there are any active sperm.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Johnson D, Sandlow JI. Vasectomy: tips and tricks. Transl Androl Urol. 2017 Aug;6(4):704-9. doi:10.21037/tau.2017.07.08.

  2. Alberta Health Services (Canada). Vasectomy: what to expect at home.

  3. Zini A, Grantmyre J, Chan P, et al. CUA guideline: vasectomy. Can Urol Assoc J. 2016 Jul-Aug;10(7-8):E274–8. doi:10.5489/cuaj.4017

By Jerry Kennard
 Jerry Kennard, PhD, is a psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society.