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About 500,000 men in the U.S. decide to have vasectomies each year. And while the procedure is almost 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, some men later determine they want children again.
That's where reversals come into play.
Vasectomy reversals have been around for some time and have a good success rate. However, there are still some things you should know about having this procedure done.
We'll go over what to expect during the procedure and a few things you can do to increase the chances of success.
What Does Vasectomy Reversal Entail?
Vasectomy reversal is a surgical procedure that can help restore fertility to men who have previously had a vasectomy.
Vasectomy reversal or vasovasostomy involves reattachment of the vas deferens (vas) tube, which is severed during vasectomy and reconnected in another place near the scrotum.
The operation may also involve reconnecting the severed ends of testicular vessels, reattaching the testicles, and possibly repositioning them within the scrotum to facilitate sperm production.
A man will likely recover in two or three days with minimal pain and discomfort. Most men who've had a successful reversal can resume sexual activity in two to three weeks.
How Long Does the Vasectomy Reversal Procedure Take?
Vasectomy reversal is done in an operating room and requires general anesthesia. The surgery typically takes less than three hours but may take longer if there were previous attempts at reversing the vasectomy or due to other complications.
What Are the Odds of Vasectomy Reversal Working?
Most men who have reversals can (in time) produce sperm again, but only 40 to 80 percent of men go on to have children after a reversal, depending on how long it's been since their original vasectomy procedure. If it’s been more than 10 years since your original surgery, your chances of fathering a child with a reversal decrease significantly.
Pregnancy rates also rely on the fertility of the woman. These rates also go down if she is 40 years or older.
How Do I Increase Pregnancy Chances After a Vasectomy Reversal?
There is no way to guarantee that you will be able to father a child after a vasectomy reversal, but there are steps you can take to help increase your chances. Here are some tips that may help boost your success rate:
- Timing matters. Success rates for pregnancy after vasectomy reversal vary depending on how long it's been since the vasectomy was performed. The longer it's been, the less likely a successful pregnancy is.
- Get tested. A semen analysis can help determine whether your body is producing enough sperm. If you and your partner have tried conceiving for a year with no success, consider getting an analysis to determine if there's a problem with sperm count or motility. It often takes six months to a year (if not longer) for the sperm to return after a vasectomy reversal. This time must be taken into account.
- Seek treatment if needed. There are treatments available if the semen analysis shows problems with sperm production or motility, such as hormone therapy or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
- Make lifestyle changes to boost fertility. Men and women who want to increase their chances of getting pregnant should quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption and start eating more healthy foods.
Is Vasectomy Reversal Right for Me?
There are several reasons why a man might consider having his vasectomy reversed. These can include:
- Desire to have more children
- A change in circumstances that make it justifiable for the reversal
For some men, the decision may come after experiencing regret or finding themselves unhappy with their decision to have a vasectomy in the first place. However, whatever your reason, if you think it's the right time to get a vasectomy reversal, you should get it done. Just make sure to talk to your physician first.
Interested in Learning More?
At the Reproductive Fertility Center in West Hollywood, led by Dr. Peyman Saadat, we understand that plans can change. This is why we offer vasectomy reversal surgeries for men who discover that their initial surgery was done prematurely.
Even though we cannot guarantee the success of the procedure, we offer numerous treatments to give you the best chance of conceiving with your partner. Call us at (310) 881-8846 or contact us today for more information.