Does Vasectomy Reversal Work?

Vasectomy is a surgical procedure that involves closing the male’s vas deferens so that semen will no longer be released. Virtually at a 100 percent effective birth control rate, vasectomy is much like tubal ligation in women, wherein her tubes are “tied” so that her eggs can no longer travel out of the ovaries.

Although vasectomy is generally permanent and non-reversible, there are procedures available to reconnect the vas deferens that were closed or cut.

Vasovasostomy, or vasectomy reversal, is an outpatient procedure that reverses the effects of the vasectomy previously performed. However, its success may depend on several factors; among them is the lapse of time between the vasectomy and its reversal. In addition, some men develop antibodies against their own sperm during the intervening period, while other develop additional blockage in their vas deferens.

Generally, vasectomy reversal takes about two to four hours. In complicated cases, it may take more time, especially when additional blockage has developed in the vas deferens area. Nevertheless, the patient can go home on the same day of the procedure.

The pain involved in the procedure ranges from mild to moderate. The patient may be able to resume his normal activities within three weeks, including sexual activity.

Generally, vasectomy reversals are successful if performed during the first ten years after a vasectomy. Successful pregnancy rates associated with this procedure are more than 50 percent, but there is a greater chance of pregnancy success if reversal is made within three years from the vasectomy. On the other hand, pregnancy success rate is only at 30 percent if the reversal is made ten years after the vasectomy.

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