Effectiveness of Vasectomy Reversal : A guide to Vasectomy Reversal

How effective is a vasectomy reversal? What are the success rates of a vasectomy reversal? These two very important questions are likely to be uppermost in your mind when thinking about this surgery. The effectiveness of a vasectomy reversal depends upon the following:

  • The duration between your vasectomy and the reversal surgery
  • The skill level and experience of the surgeon
  • The type of vasectomy reversal procedure
  • Your age and state of health
  • Any complications following your vasectomy
  • Your partner’s age and state of health
  • The method used during your vasectomy

Your best chance of success is if you have a vasectomy reversal within five years of your original vasectomy.A vasectomy reversal is effective at restoring fertility but this does depend upon the factors mentioned above. Most of those refer to you but your partner’s age and reproductive health is equally as important. You can undergo a successful procedure only to find that for whatever reason, your partner is unable to become pregnant. She may have a problem with her fertility or some other underlying condition which prevents this from happening. It’s a good idea for both of you to undergo a physical check up which includes your reproductive systems before you embark upon this surgery.

Vasectomy reversal success rates

The longer the period of time between a vasectomy and a reversal procedure the more time there is for scar tissue to have built up in the vas deferens. Scar tissue will affect the movement of sperm in these tubes which impacts upon the likelihood of fertilisation. Success rates for vasectomy reversal are estimated at around 55% - if vasectomy reversal occurs within 10 years. This drops to 25% after 10 years.(Source: NHS Choices 14.08.2008) These rates vary between surgeons and range from 40% up to 90%. You can expect a higher success rate with a more experienced surgeon but you need to find the right surgeon for you.What does influence the success rate is the type of method used in your vasectomy. A ‘closed-ended’ method is more difficult to undo which affects the type of reversal procedure needed and the likelihood of having children. It is important to realise that your sperm count will be lower and of poorer quality than before surgery which can increase the risk of a birth defect in the baby. However, advances in medical science have meant that surgeons are better prepared to deal with this which has also led to a small increase in success rates. If a reversal isn’t successful then you still have the option of IVF treatment.

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