If you’re one of the up to 12% of men that has experienced a change of heart after undergoing a vasectomy, there is hope. Contrary to popular belief, sterility after vasectomy does NOT have to be a permanent condition and your surgeon can help you in your journey to build your family!
Vasectomy reversal is a delicate microsurgical procedure where the two severed ends of the tube that carries sperm from the testicle are reconnected, restoring a man’s natural fertility. It is safe, reliable, and minimally invasive, involving only two small incisions in the scrotum.
At the time of surgery, your surgeon will examine the fluid from your testicle. If this is normal, then the tube that was originally severed during your vasectomy will be reconnected. This is also known as a ‘vasovasostomy’ and is appropriate for most men. If this fluid is found to be abnormal, then a more complex repair known as a ‘vasoepididymostomy’ may be required.
Your surgical experience between these two distinct procedures is identical, but it’s important to ensure that your surgeon has extensive experience in both so that you have the best chance possible at success.
Some Common Questions
What are my chances at success? Vasectomy reversal is an extremely reliable option for most men, with ~90% of men who have undergone their original vasectomy within the past 8 years experiencing a return of sperm to their ejaculate.
What about in-vitro fertilization (IVF)? IVF is a fantastic option for couples that require it, but it is frequently more expensive and invasive than vasectomy reversal. IVF also carries with it the risk of multiple births, such as twins or triplets, and requires the woman to undergo a series of hormonal shots and procedures in order to achieve a pregnancy. It’s important to note that for couples where the man has previously undergone vasectomy, he will still need to undergo a minor surgical procedure to extract sperm.
Nevertheless, IVF procedures may still be required for some couples. This is why sperm is frequently extracted and banked at the time of vasectomy reversal. This allows couples to have a pressure-free experience where they can still have all options available to them in order to build their family on their own terms.
What's the recovery process? Since vasectomy reversal is so minimally invasive, men are allowed to go home that same day. Due to the delicate nature of the procedure, it's generally recommended that all patients ‘take it easy’ during the first 48 hours with their feet elevated and intermittent icing. All patients should wear supportive underwear like athletic shorts or a jock strap. Typically, patients are asked to abstain from sex for the first month following surgery. Any lifting over 10 lbs or activity that involves straddling (like with a bicycle or motorcycle) should also be strictly avoided during this time period.
After that first month, most couples are cleared to start ‘trying’ again for pregnancy. Approximately 2 months after surgery, your surgeon will test your ejaculate to see if sperm is present. Even if this test shows no sperm, it’s important to remember that sometimes it may take up to 12-18 months for sperm to reappear, depending on your unique circumstances.
Will this change how sex feels or my erections? No, vasectomy reversal does not alter the sensation of sex or orgasm in any way and actually allows for couples to achieve pregnancy in the most natural way possible. In fact, some men who have begun experience chronic pain following their original vasectomy may find their pain is gone after vasectomy reversal.