Vasectomy Research reviewed by Dr Dick Beatty




The 12-14 week Post vasectomy testing requires a ‘fresh sample’ in most countries, but also available as a postal sample in The USA and The UK.  The fresh sample requires taking the sample to the local laboratory for analysis of sperm concentration and motility (movement) within 2 hrs, whereas the postal sample simply requires dropping the sample into your local post box to test for zero sperm a few days later.

How does the postal sample perform against the gold standard fresh semen analysis?

This study analysed data from 58,800 vasectomies performed in The UK over 11 years. The postal method was used in 59% of vasectomies, and the fresh sample in 44% of vasectomies.

They found that ‘Compliance with postal (79.5%) was significantly greater than with non-postal strategy (59.1%), the difference being 20.4%.’

There was no significant difference in the rate of failure between postal and fresh samples.


We now know from this research that 20% more men offered the postal test will get the sample done compared to men who are required to produce a fresh sample. The postal test is more than convenient – it can make the difference between doing the test and not doing the test.

A ‘few’ sperm in the postal sample requires a second, fresh, sample to be tested for movement (motility), whereas a ‘few’ sperm in the fresh sample is analysed for motility in the one test, potentially allowing clearance on the one sample. In other words, the downside of postal sampling, compared with an initial fresh sample, is an increased chance of having to do a 2nd (fresh) sample.

Whilst the failure rate of 0.94% and 0.73% did not differ significantly between the two groups, it’s worth noting that the failure rate may be considered quite high. Vasectomy in The UK is almost always ‘closed’ which may explain the relatively higher failure rate compared with <0.3% failure rate of open-ended vasectomy. [/av_tab] [/av_tab_container][/av_one_full] [/av_section][av_section min_height='' min_height_pc='25' min_height_px='500px' padding='large' custom_margin='0px' custom_margin_sync='true' color='main_color' background='bg_color' custom_bg='#f3f3f3' background_gradient_color1='' background_gradient_color2='' background_gradient_direction='vertical' src='' attachment='' attachment_size='' attach='scroll' position='top left' repeat='no-repeat' video='' video_ratio='16:9' overlay_opacity='0.5' overlay_color='' overlay_pattern='' overlay_custom_pattern='' shadow='no-border-styling' bottom_border='no-border-styling' bottom_border_diagonal_color='#333333' bottom_border_diagonal_direction='' bottom_border_style='' custom_arrow_bg='' id='book_app_sec' custom_class='' aria_label='' av_element_hidden_in_editor='0' av_uid='av-jws6az0o'] [av_one_half first min_height='av-equal-height-column' vertical_alignment='av-align-middle' space='' row_boxshadow_color='' row_boxshadow_width='10' margin='0px' margin_sync='true' mobile_breaking='' border='' border_color='' radius='0px' radius_sync='true' padding='0px' padding_sync='true' column_boxshadow_color='' column_boxshadow_width='10' background='bg_color' background_color='' background_gradient_color1='' background_gradient_color2='' background_gradient_direction='vertical' src='' attachment='' attachment_size='' background_position='top left' background_repeat='no-repeat' highlight_size='1.1' animation='fade-in' link='' linktarget='' link_hover='' title_attr='' alt_attr='' mobile_display='' id='' custom_class='' aria_label='' av_uid='av-xrng7'][av_textblock size='40' av-medium-font-size='28' av-small-font-size='' av-mini-font-size='' font_color='' color='#ffffff' id='' custom_class='' av_uid='av-20pgq7' admin_preview_bg='']

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Auth: Dr Beatty

First Publication: 18/11/2020

Updated: 3/8/2021