Vasectomy is a form of permanent male birth control in which a surgical procedure is performed to block sperm from reaching the semen. Approximately 500,000 vasectomies are performed annually in the United States, and 4-10% of men request a vasectomy reversal. Most men seeking information about a vasectomy reversal are in a new relationship and are interested in having children with this new partner. Other men, after having a vasectomy, decide that they would like to have more children. While a vasectomy reversal can be performed without a special operating microscope (microsurgery), microsurgical procedures have a higher success rate, and most studies show significantly higher success rates with microsurgery.
Factors that affect the chance for patency (sperm returning to the semen) include:
- The amount of time since the vasectomy.
- The quality of the fluid seen from the vas deferens (sperm ducts) during the procedure.
- Whether an obstruction is present in the epididymis (ducts behind the testicles).
- The surgeon’s experience and techniques used.
The chance for pregnancy depends on the above factors, along with any female fertility issues that may be present in the partner. The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis with either local or general anesthesia, depending on the preferences of the patient and surgeon. The chance for sperm returning to the semen is 70-97%, and the pregnancy rate is 30-70%, depending on the factors above. An estimate for your chance of success will be provided during your office consultation.
UAB Medicine has nationally recognized providers with specialized training and over 20 years of experience in vasectomy reversal and other microsurgical procedures for male infertility. UAB’s state-of-the-art andrology laboratory performs semen analysis testing, sperm storage, and other services for couples undergoing treatment for infertility. These services are critical for giving patients precise and accurate information, as well as additional options for parenting. After vasectomy reversal, follow-up semen analysis gives patients important information about their chances for establishing a pregnancy. Alternatives to vasectomy reversal, including sperm retrieval and in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection, are available at UAB. Our fertility specialists will work with the man and his partner to determine a treatment plan that is best suited to their needs and preferences.
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