A vasectomy is a procedure carried out on a male to prevent pregnancy, which involves surgery to cut or seal the tubes (“vas deferens”) that carry their sperm out of the testes. The male reproductive organs continue producing sperm as usual, except instead of entering the semen, it is absorbed by the individual’s body. This prevents potential pregnancies from taking place as there is no sperm present for conception. It should only be considered if you and your partner are sure that you do not want children of your own in the future. Whilst reversal is possible, its success rate varies.
Is It Possible to Get Pregnant After a Vasectomy?
According to a 2004 survey, there’s only 1 pregnancy for every 1,000 vasectomies, making it 99.9% effective as a form of contraception. There is the possibility of pregnancy after surgery if there is still sperm upstream of where the vasectomy was. Blood tests can give an indication if this is the case. Over time sperm count will gradually decrease and a semen analysis test can be performed after 8 weeks to see whether your semen is free of sperm. Always tell the andrologist that this is the reason for the test as the lab processes will be slightly different.
Reversing a Vasectomy
Life can sometimes take an unexpected turn and you might find yourself in a situation where you want to try for a baby. In that case, a vasectomy reversal is possible to restore fertility. A surgeon may be able to reconnect the pathway, but your chances of conceiving will depend on how successful the vasectomy-reversal procedure was and long it has been since the procedure was performed.
Can a Vasectomy Reverse Itself Naturally?
While unlikely, there’s also the possibility of a vasectomy ‘reversing’ itself, or “spontaneous re-canalisation” as it’s called. A phenomenon where the vas tubing opens and small amounts of sperm get across which could, in theory, result in pregnancy. The chance of this is extremely rare. Only 1 in every 4000 men who have had a vasectomy will experience this.
Surgical Sperm Collection
An alternative course of action is to have sperm collected surgically from the testes in a PESA or TESE procedure in a fertility clinic. The material is collected by a surgeon & immediately passed to an embryologist who will check the sperms for viability, divide them into several containers and cryogenically freeze them. When the patient wishes to try for a family the sperms will be thawed and used in an IVF cycle with ICSI.
If you would like to learn about the options available to you, feel free to get in touch.