When Vasectomy Reversal Fails
Historically, having a vasectomy has meant that a man could never again father biological children. Due to improvements in microsurgery over the years, this is no longer the case. The choice to have a vasectomy is still an important one, but not one that cannot be revisited in the future. Dr. Shridharani is a board-certified urologist with years of extensive training and experience in vasectomy reversal procedures. He has helped many men achieve their goal of regaining fertility. However, there is no guarantee that a vasectomy reversal will be successful. Here, we discuss why and also what you might do if you were to experience vasectomy reversal failure.
Details You Should Know
Vasectomy reversal failure is defined by the absence of sperm in the semen at the one-year point after surgery. As a result of a vasectomy reversal, 85% of men treated experience an adequate return of sperm within 12 months. However, statistics suggest that only about half of the couples who attempt to conceive after a vasectomy reversal will be successful. This could be due to several contributing factors, not necessarily the failure of the reversal procedure.
Two particular reasons that a couple may have difficulty conceiving after a vasectomy reversal include fertility issues in the female partner and undetected fertility issues in the male partner. For a man who has regained the presence of sperm in his semen but is not achieving conception, we may consider the quality of his sperm or the presence of another problem, such as a varicocele or testicular atrophy.
Vasectomy-related conditions that may affect future fertility do exist, as well:
- Timing is a significant factor in the success of a vasectomy reversal. The sooner reversal is conducted, the less chance there is of a blockage in the epididymis.
- Vasectomy reversal technique may matter. Most procedures only reconnect the vas deferens (vasovasostomy). If an obstruction exists in the epididymal tubules, a vasoepididymostomy is necessary to bypass the blockage.
- Scar tissue is a natural byproduct of any surgery. During a vasectomy reversal, the scar tissue from the previous vasectomy can be addressed. However, there is a chance that new scar tissue may form as a result of the reversal procedure. This tissue may block the vas deferens and prevent sperm from passing through to the seminal vesicles.
Facing Vasectomy Reversal Failure with Hope
The failure of one vasectomy reversal doesn’t mean the end of hope for more children. Studies demonstrate that 75% of men who undergo a second vasectomy reversal procedure achieve technical success (sperm returns to the semen).
If you are considering a vasectomy reversal, you need the help of an experienced surgeon. To receive that help, schedule a consultation in our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-4MEN (4636).