A vasectomy is intended to be permanent, but a man’s circumstances can change after a few years. At some time in the future it’s possible for someone who has had a vasectomy to be in a relationship where he and his partner really want to start a family or have another child.
There is a surgical procedure which reconnects the tubes which carry sperm from the testicles, to restore fertility. If it is not immediately successful, then a second reversal might be possible.
Vasectomy Reversal Procedure
Reversal surgery is done under general anesthetic and can take up to three hours. The most common technique for reversal is known as vasovasostomy.
The surgeon will make an incision by cutting through the vasectomy scar in the center, or at each side of the scrotum. After removing scar tissue, a surgeon will gently pull the vas deferens tubes through the incision.
When the tubes are seen to contain fluid, they will be reconnected and pushed back into the scrotum, before the incision is closed with soluble stitches.
When vas deferens tubes do not contain any fluid, a slightly different reversal technique, known as vasoepididymostomy, will be necessary. This requires the vas deferens and epididymis to be joined together, rather than a simple reconnection of the tubes.
Full recovery should take place in one week to ten days. Following a reversal, exactly the same precautions should be taken as after a vasectomy, including no strenuous exercise, wearing supportive underwear and good hygiene.
Three months after surgery a semen sample will need to be examined by a doctor. A semen test will be required every three months until sperm appear in the semen.
Chances of Success
The longer it is since the vasectomy, the lower the chances of a partner becoming pregnant. The ideal time to have a reversal is within five years of having a vasectomy. Statistics show that about 80% of men who have an early reversal become fertile again, and almost half of their partners become pregnant within two years. Results are lower for men who need to have a second reversal.
The success rate is still rising, but sperm count will always be lower after vasectomy reversal than before a vasectomy, and sperm will be less active.
Vasectomy Reversal Factors To Consider
Pregnancy can never be guaranteed. It depends as much on the fertility, age and state of health of the female as it does on the fertility of the male. IVF might be necessary after reversal, because of low sperm count and poor sperm movement.
Pregnancy is more likely to happen if it’s an early reversal. Age matters less than the length of time since the vasectomy. An older man who has a reversal within five years has a better chance of becoming a father than a mature man who had his vasectomy when he was much younger.
Vasectomies are reversible but consideration should be given to factors which might result in failure. A doctor will provide all the necessary advice and will discuss any details that could affect a decision to undergo surgery and reverse a vasectomy.