Reversing a Vasectomy

by Catherine Rein
(last updated November 15, 2011)

I have a good friend who recently remarried. His new wife is in her late twenties and has never had children. My friend had two children with his first wife before having a vasectomy two years ago. The couple is now thinking of trying for more children and researching the possibility of having his vasectomy reversed.

If you one of the 30,000 to 40,000 men each year who are considering reversing a vasectomy, the news is good. Microsurgery has advanced to the point where most vasectomies are reversible and the chances of success are much higher than IVF. Here are three steps to think about before making a final decision:

  1. Determine if You are a Candidate. Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 men decide to reverse their vasectomy every year. The most common reasons are remarriage, the death of a child or a change in economic circumstances. Reversing a vasectomy is a challenging surgery and its purpose is to reconnect the scarred ends of the vas, but it is still likely to be an outpatient procedure that does not require hospitalization or an overnight stay.
  2. Decide on a Doctor and Type of Procedure. There are a small number of urologist specialists who focus on doing vasectomy reversals, one of the most challenging operations in medicine. Taking your time to research doctors and finding one with a high degree of experience will likely make all the difference in the success of your reversal.
  3. Be Aware of Time. The time since your vasectomy will not likely have an impact on your chances of success. Over time some men do experience blockage and scarring due to a build up of fluid within the delicate epididymal tubules. With the right surgeon, this is not likely to be a severe problem.
  4. Evaluate Other Options. The most likely other options for having a child are In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or adoption if a vasectomy reversal is not right for you.

Studies have shown that reversing a vasectomy is much more successful and significantly less expensive than IVF. A March 2002 study showed that when the woman in the couple was over the age of 40, a vasectomy reversal was significantly more successful at establishing a pregnancy than IVF.

If you decided that a vasectomy reversal might be a good option for you, be sure to complete genetic counseling if over the age of 40.

Author Bio

Catherine Rein

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