Vasectomy is a common procedure in our community and is considered a permanent method of birth control. Sometimes life changes and a vasectomy reversal (vasovasotomy) is enquired about.

The most common reason for vasectomy reversal is when a married couple have separated and the male finds a new partner/companion who is keen on having children. The second most common cause is a change of heart usually because the vasectomy was done at a relatively young age and later in life the couple decide to add to their family.

Vasectomy reversal is achievable in nearly all situations and has a high success rate. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. It is done as a day case and the patient can return to work 1-2 days following the procedure. An operating microscope is used and the surgery usually takes about an hour and half. Both ends of the vas deferens are found, cleaned up, freshly cut and then anastomosed (rejoined) using fine nylon sutures. This is achieved using magnification with an operating microscope. It is nearly always done on both sides at the same time. There may be a little more bruising and discomfort occurring after a vasectomy.

The results in terms of achieving a pregnancy are good, but are inversely related to the time since the vasectomy was done. For reasons that aren’t clear, the results tend to become less satisfactory in terms of pregnancy the further one is from the original date of vasectomy. Up to ten years from a vasectomy the results are good, with rates of up to 80% of pregnancy being achieved. Of course, that depends on the age and fertility of the partner. After 10 years the success rate drops away. However, recent studies have shown this is still satisfactory and the majority of people can still achieve a pregnancy, although certainly not 80%. It is sensible not to resume sexual activity following a vasectomy reversal. We would recommend a couple of weeks of quietness and then activity can resume as normal. Usually, a semen analysis is done around 12 weeks following a vasectomy reversal to see whether there is sperm in the ejaculate. That is, assuming a pregnancy hasn’t already occurred.

Vasectomy reversal is a very rewarding procedure for everyone involved. We are very keep to hear of successful outcomes and hopefully with a baby photo attached.

North Eastern Urology