Were you content looking forward to a child-free life, but then you weren’t? Perhaps your children are almost grown. You didn’t anticipate becoming a parent all over again, but you’ve met someone and want to have a child with your new partner. Your life circumstance has changed, and you want to find out if you could father a child.
Even though a vasectomy is considered a permanent sterilization procedure, it can, in fact, be reversed. Between 6-10% of men who’ve had vasectomies change their minds. Dr. T. Mike Hsieh is a board-certified urologist who specializes in male fertility and men’s health who can help you understand the vasectomy reversal procedure, risks, and success rates.
When you had your vasectomy, the tubes that carry your sperm, the vas deferens, were cut or blocked off. The reverse vasectomy connects those tubes again so that sperm can travel from the testicles to the urethra and mix with semen. Once sperm is back in the mix, you and your partner should be able to conceive.
When Dr. Hsieh performs the reversal, he checks to see if you still have sperm in the vas deferens fluid. If you do, he simply reconnects the ends of the vas deferens, and it’s a fairly minor procedure. If sperm isn’t present, the procedure is more complicated; he connects the vas deferens to a protrusion from the back of each testicle.
You may take pain relievers for up to a week. You can usually return to office work in about a week, but you should avoid vigorous exercise until your doctor gives you the green light. Be sure to follow all of Dr. Hsieh’s post-op instructions to avoid infection and other complications.
The answer is that the success of vasectomy reversals depends on several factors. Perhaps you had your vasectomy at 40 thinking you were finished with parenting or were certain you wanted to remain child-free, but now you’re 45 and you’ve met the love of your life. You want to have a child with this partner. What are your chances?
Pregnancy rates after vasectomy reversal can vary from 30% to over 90%. Several factors contribute to a successful pregnancy.
The number of intervening years since you had your vasectomy is an important key to how successful a vasectomy can be. As the number of years increases between the vasectomy and the reversal, the success rate declines. If performed within 10 years of the initial procedure, most vasectomy reversals are successful. Rates begin to decline after 15 years.
Other factors affecting the success of the reversal include the ages of the female and male partners as well as whether either of them has or has had fertility issues. Female fertility declines significantly after age 37. Your partner’s gynecologist should tell her whether she is ovulating. In some instances, scarring from the vasectomy reversal can block sperm flow.
You also want to consider the skill of the surgeon. Dr. Hsieh specializes in microscopic vasectomy reversal, using the most advanced techniques available today. The microscope he uses enlarges the view of the vas deferens tubes to up to 40 times their size. The stitches used to reconnect the tubes are as thin or thinner than a hair.
You’ll need to be patient after your procedure. Almost all vasectomies can be reversed, but it may take a few months to a year to have enough sperm for pregnancy.
If you’re considering a vasectomy reversal, call or book an appointment online with Dr. T. Mike Hsieh in LaJolla, California for expert consultation and treatment.