Factors To Consider When Getting Pregnant After A Vasectomy Or A Vasectomy Reversal, Including Procedure Details, Recovery, And Chances Of Conceiving After A Vasectomy.
For many men who choose to have a vasectomy, their decision is 100% and they have no regrets. However, a growing trend in vasectomy reversals is being seen across the country. The microsurgical procedure is performed under general anesthesia by an urologist, reattaching the tube called the vas deferens, which was cut at the time of the original vasectomy procedure.
“Vasectomy reversal should only be performed by a board certified urologist who is fellowship trained in microsurgery and performs vasectomy reversals on a weekly basis,” advises Karen Elizabeth Boyle, M.D., F.A.C.S. of The Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Here is what is involved:
Vasectomy reversal procedure
When a patient undergoes a vasectomy reversal, the surgeon evaluates the fluid at the time of the procedure to determine which type of vasectomy reversal will be performed.
Vasovasostomies are the most common, involving the reconnection of the end of the vas deferens under a powerful microscope. If the fluid shows sperm is present, or if the fluid is clear and watery, this type of procedure will likely be adequate.
Vasoepididymostomies are performed when a blockage is suspected. If the fluid shows an absence of sperm, or the fluid is thick and white, the blockage must be bypassed.
Pain after a vasectomy reversal has been reported to be equal to, or a little more than, the discomfort of the original vasectomy. Symptoms may include swelling and bruising of the surgery sight, as well as common symptoms from the anesthesia. Recovery time, however, is longer than a vasectomy.
After avoiding strenuous activity for three weeks and avoiding intercourse for four weeks, normal activities will gradually be allowed. A scrotal supporter will also be worn until the happy couple gets pregnant.
It is possible to get pregnant as soon as you have the green light to resume intercourse. However, it typically takes about 12 -24 months following the vasectomy reversal.
“Patients should ask their prospective surgeon their own success rates, but in the hands of a fellowship trained microsurgeon, vasectomy reversal success rates are greater than 90% overall, despite the length of time it's been since the time of the vasectomy,” says Dr. Boyle.
For those unfortunate men who have no sperm present in their semen by 6 months (vasovasotomy) or 12-18 months (vasoepididymostomy), the procedure is considered a failure. Options for re-operation or invitro fertilization through sperm retrieval will be discussed with you by your doctor at such time.
Discuss your concerns with your doctor before making any final decisions. Your uncertainties may be unfounded. “Perhaps the greatest misconception about vasectomy reversals is that a prolonged time interval from when the vasectomy was originally performed would suggest poor success,” says Dr. Boyle.
“In reality, there is NO time limit past which a vasectomy reversal isn't possible. In fact, the longest time interval I've performed a vasectomy reversal was 36 years after the vasectomy, and happily, that couple was pregnant within 4 months of the procedure.”
When weighing your birth control options as a couple, you may want to keep in mind that experts agree that a vasectomy is easier to reverse than a tubal ligation. Although the procedure is likely not covered by your insurance, for an average of $10,000 for a vasectomy reversal, the dreams of getting pregnant after a vasectomy can be a reality.
For more on getting pregnant after vasectomy:
- Birth control - Vasectomy facts
- Conceiving after the snip: Vasectomy reversal vs. In-Vitro fertilitization
- Permanent birth control: Making the decision
- Birth control methods chart