A vasectomy is considered a permanent method of birth control. Vasectomy reversal (vasovasostomy) reconnects the tubes (vas deferens) that were cut during a vasectomy.
Vasectomy reversal is usually an outpatient procedure (without an overnight stay in the hospital). Spinal or general anesthesia is commonly used to ensure that you stay completely still during the surgery.
The chances of vasectomy reversal success depend on how much time has passed between the vasectomy and the reversal. Over time, additional blockages can form, and some men develop antibodies to their own sperm.
Leads to overall pregnancy rates of greater than 50%.
Has the greatest chance of success within 3 years of the vasectomy.
Leads to pregnancy only about 30% of the time if the reversal is done 10 years after vasectomy.
Risks of vasectomy reversal include:
Infection at the site of surgery.
Fluid buildup in the scrotum (hydrocele) that may require draining.
Injury to the arteries or nerves in the scrotum.
What To Think About
Before a vasectomy reversal is done, your doctor will want to confirm that you were fertile before your vasectomy.
You can have tests to see whether you have sperm antibodies in your semen before and after vasectomy reversal. If there are sperm antibodies in your semen after surgery, your partner is unlikely to become pregnant. In such a case, you may wish to try in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Roncari D, Jou MY (2011). Female and male sterilization. In RA Hatcher, et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th rev. ed., pp. 435–482. New York: Ardent Media.
Speroff L, Darney PD (2011). Sterilization. In A Clinical Guide for Contraception, 5th ed., pp. 381–404. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.