Setting new standards: Introducing the FSRH Service Standards for Vasectomy

Posted 22 Apr 2024

Date: 22 Apr 2024

Author: Dr Tony Feltbower

I am extremely pleased to have led on the development of the new FSRH Service Standards for Vasectomy.

Development and importance of new Standards

Ever since I joined the Clinical Standards Committee (CSC) a few years ago, I have been keen to get this work off the ground and published. The FSRH provides a huge amount of information and guidance on all forms of contraception, and I was eager for vasectomy to be included in such important guidance.

The new FSRH Service Standards for Vasectomy is intended for use by all those involved in the provision of vasectomy services, whether in the community or in secondary care. This includes commissioners and service providers who will now have a Standard on which contracts can be based and agreed, ensuring a high-quality service is provided and received.

The Standard should form the basis of what should be provided at all steps along the vasectomy pathway, from the initial referral (or self-referral) process, through the provision of pre-operative information and counselling, consent, post-operative care and final discharge following successful semen analysis, as well as feedback and auditing to ensure the service is safe and of high quality.

Implementation and future directions

Guidance is provided on the content of pre-operative information that should be made available to those requesting vasectomy as a permanent form of long-term contraception, including special considerations for men/couples in certain categories. For example, men under 30, especially if single; youngest child is <12months old; childless couples as well as partners who may be in the 40s and should consider potential issues around the menopause and HRT. An algorithm is annexed regarding the interpretation of fresh and postal semen analysis.

The new Standard will also be useful in providing guidance for the purpose of job planning or annual appraisal/revalidation, including recommendations for CPD and peer review.

This Standard is up for renewal in 2028, but meanwhile, all those involved in the provision of vasectomy services should ensure they are keeping abreast of new information and evidence which can be incorporated in the service being provided.

I am very grateful to have been part of a small group of vasectomy surgeons from different backgrounds (GP, Community, SRH and Secondary Care) who all played a part in writing this standard, as well as other vasectomy surgeons from both the FSRH and the Association of Surgeons in Primary Care (ASPC), who reviewed drafts and made suggestions. I thank them all for the time and effort they have all committed.

Download the Service Standard on Vasectomy