You may be confronting a major life decision involving children. In the past, you thought you didn’t want children or any more children, and you had a vasectomy. Now you’ve changed your mind. Perhaps you’ve found a new love and remarried, and you both want to have children. You’re wondering whether to have a vasectomy reversal.
Up to 10% of men who’ve had vasectomies opt for a reversal. You’ve learned that life circumstances can change unexpectedly, and your thoughts about having children or more children have changed. Perhaps you already have a child but your new wife doesn’t have children and wants to conceive. The following are helpful facts about vasectomy reversals.
Vasectomy reversals are a safe procedure
Most vasectomy reversals are outpatient surgeries done under local or general anesthesia.
Your Arizona Urology surgeon has specialized skills; he’s trained microsurgical techniques and uses a powerful surgical microscope; complications are rare. Incisions are tiny.
You normally can go home the same day as the procedure. You should be able to return to work after about a week. Your surgeon provides complete written instructions for self-care during your recovery.
Vasectomy reversal success and pregnancy success
You have many questions, but one foremost in your mind is, “Does it work?” The answer to that question depends on a few factors. First, the good news. If you had your vasectomy less than 10 years ago, success rates in your being able to produce sperm in your ejaculate again are 95% or higher after a vasectomy reversal. If your vasectomy was more than 15 years ago, the success rate is lower. Actual pregnancy rates vary widely — usually from 30 to more than 70%.
A landmark study involving over 1,000 men showed differing results based on how long ago the men had their vasectomies. Of the men who had vasectomy reversals less than three years after their vasectomy, 97% achieved sperm in their semen and 76% achieved pregnancy with their partner. From 3-8 years from the time of the vasectomy before the reversal, 88% achieved sperm in the semen and 53% achieved pregnancy with their significant other. Of those whose reversals occurred between 9-14 years from the vasectomy, 79% had sperm in the semen and 44% achieved pregnancy with their partner. After 15 years between procedures, 71% had sperm in the ejaculate and 30% achieved pregnancy.
Current studies of vasectomy reversals show an increased success. We at Arizona Urology achieve outstanding results with minimal downtime.
Success rates depend in part on what our surgeon finds during the procedure. If sperm is present within the vas deferens, the tubes that carry your sperm, he simply connects the two ends together in a very minor procedure. If our surgeon finds that you don’t have sperm there, the blockage is likely nearer to your testicles, and he performs a vasoepididymostomy, connecting the vas deferens to the epididymis, where the sperm grows. This procedure produces sperm in your ejaculate 58-85% of the time and yields widely varying pregnancy rates — from 11-56%.
Other factors are at play in determining pregnancy once sperm are present again. The age of the mother and the health of your sperm are just two reasons for disparate pregnancy rates after vasectomy reversals. Age plays a role in men’s as well as women’s fertility. After age 50, the number of normal, healthy sperm tends to decrease; in addition, the motility of the sperm (their ability to swim) is affected.
Our surgeons at Arizona Urology can also retrieve your sperm during a vasectomy reversal to use during in vitro fertilization if that is your preference.
If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal or have other urology needs, call our office at Arizona Urology for the most advanced medical treatment available today.