You may want to father a child after having a vasectomy as a result of unforeseen changes in your circumstances or relationships. Approximately 6% of men who undergo vasectomy eventually want children in the future. Vasectomy reversal, which allows couples to try to conceive naturally, is successful in the majority of cases (>90%).
Procedures for Vasectomy Reversal
Two procedures are used to reverse vasectomies:
The most common technique used in vasectomy reversal is vasovasostomy. The cut ends of the vas deferens are sewn back together under a surgical microscope during this three-hour surgery. Before suturing the ends back together, we will examine the fluid coming from the vas deferens still attached to the testicle. If the fluid is thin and/or contains sperm, a vasovasostomy will be performed. If there is no fluid present or it is very thick like toothpaste, we will perform a vasoepididymostomy.
This is a more complex version of a vasectomy reversal. In this procedure, one end of the vas deferens is connected directly to the epididymis, a structure that stores sperm created in the testicle. This surgery is technically more challenging and has a lower success rate than vasovasostomy.
Vasectomy Reversal FAQs
Vasectomy reversals are same-day surgeries performed in our operating room at RMA. The operation is performed under general anesthesia and a small incision in the scrotum is required. Most men find that their pain is manageable with the use of ice packs and over-the-counter pain relief. We ask patients to avoid heavy lifting, sexual activity, and exercise for about 2-3 weeks.
One advantage is that a vasectomy reversal is much less expensive than IVF (if you do not have insurance coverage for IVF). In addition, after a vasectomy reversal, you and your partner would be able to have multiple pregnancies, whereas each cycle of IVF is intended to result in only one pregnancy and birth.
In the hands of fellowship-trained microsurgeons, like Dr. Cheng and Dr. Hotaling, who regularly perform these procedures, vasectomy reversals have high success rates.
|Vasectomy Reversal Success Rates|
(sperm found in semen)
(depends on female factors)
- Your surgeon’s skill level
- The technique used
- The length of time elapsed since your vasectomy
- The quality of the fluid in the vas deferens
- Whether there is any blockage within the epididymis
Even after a successful vasectomy reversal, some couples still have fertility problems that may require assisted reproductive technology (e.g. IUI, IVF/ICSI) in order to get pregnant. Some men will have low sperm counts and may develop scarring leading to obstruction over time.
If you decide to store your sperm, we can retrieve sperm directly from the testicles during the vasectomy reversal surgery. This is done by using a needle and a syringe to remove some tubules containing sperm from the testicle. The sperm can be frozen and stored in a sperm bank for as long as you wish. The sperm can be used for IVF in the event that a vasectomy reversal is unsuccessful or if your partner’s fertility status requires IVF.