What it takes for Vasectomy Reversal to be Successful
If you are considering vasectomy reversal, we have a good guess at one of your top questions. Most men want to know if their chances at success are limited due to the timing of their secondary surgery. If you’ve done any amount of research on the topic, you may have read statements from physicians as well as some patients regarding the efficacy of vasectomy reversal even decades after the original procedure to inhibit fertility.
Although the time between the vasectomy and the subsequent reversal is an important factor in determining success, it’s not the only one. Before diving to what those other factors are, it is necessary to know how that success is measured.
Successful Vasectomy Reversal
There are two terms used to explain success after vasectomy reversal. One is “pregnancy success rate,” and the other is “patency success rate.” Clearly, pregnancy success rate means that a couple has been able to conceive after vasectomy reversal. Patency relates to the presence of sperm in the ejaculate, the very aspect of fertility that is altered by vasectomy. Patency is usually affected by the type of vas reconnection made, vas-to-vas connections stay open better than vas-to-epididymis connections. The longer the time between vasectomy and reversal, the more likely a vas-to-epididymis connection will be made, which is associated with lower patency rate overall because of their fragile nature. Nevertheless, if a surgeon is not trained to perform a vas to epididymis connection when necessary your chances of having success on that side will be zero. Pregnancy success rates depend on the age of the female partner and fertility status of the male after reversal.
Dr. Shridharani is a high-volume microsurgeon, which means he has a great deal of experience in the performance of vas reconnections, or vasectomy reversal as well as other microsurgical fertility procedures. His training and expertise have been documented in a study he authored, Vasectomy Reversal Best Practices. The average success rate for vasectomy reversal is above the 90th percentile for patency and as high as the 70th percentile for pregnancy for women in their prime childbearing years.
Improving Chances of Success
In addition to obtaining care from a microsurgeon with years of experience in vasectomy reversal, factors that affect success include:
- Your personal fertility history as a couple. If you and your current partner have been able to conceive in the past, there is a good chance that you will be able to conceive after vasectomy reversal. The age and general health of the female partner are relevant and should be assessed.
- General health. Lifestyle habits and conditions such as obesity can degrade fertility.
- Location of original vasectomy. If the vas deferens blockage site is in close proximity to the testicles compared to father away, the vasectomy reversal may be more involved.
- Hormonal manipulation. If you are on testosterone replacement therapy, you likely have a low sperm count and no sperm and can complicate or postpone a reversal. Testosterone should be discontinued 3-6 months prior to any reversal procedure.
There is one surefire way to ascertain your chances of success with vasectomy reversal, and that is to schedule a consultation with Dr Shridharani at the UT Erlanger Men’s Health Clinic. To do so, call (423) 778-4MEN(4636).