Vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed to make a man sterile, or unable to father a child. It is a permanent male birth control method.

A vasectomy is performed to permanently blocks the vas deferens—the tubes leading to the testes. The testes will still produce sperm, but the sperm die and are absorbed by the body. Men who have had the procedure will still produce semen and ejaculate, but the semen won’t contain any sperm and therefore is unable to impregnate. Vasectomies do not affect testosterone levels or male sexual characteristics, and in most men the ability to have an erection remains completely unchanged.

Among married couples in the United States, only female sterilization and oral contraception are used more frequently for family planning.

Learn more from Johns Hopkins online.