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Confirming Sterility

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Since you are not sterile after your vasectomy, temporary male birth control is needed. At least 2 and sometimes more semen analyses are needed to confirm no moving sperm are present. Testing typically takes place at two months and then three months after your vasectomy procedure. If the 3 month test shows no sperm then the patient is cleared to return to have unprotected intercourse.

You will be given a lab sheet to present to the lab with your semen sample produced at home within the previous hour.

These tests are very important!

1st Sterility Test: After Two Months

At the time of the first sample, two months after your vasectomy procedure (and after at least 20 ejaculations), 70% of men are sterile.

2nd Sterility Test: After Three Months

By the second sample, up to 95% of men are sterile.

Failed Sterility Tests

If the second test shows non-motile (also know as dead sperm), then a 3rd test is obtained. If this follow-up test again showed dead sperm or no sperm then the patient is cleared. However, if the follow-up test shows moving sperm, then the patient would require a further testing of up to 6 months post vasectomy. If this moving sperm does not clear up the patient will be declared as having had a vasectomy failure and it should be redone.

Concerns About Dead Sperm & Sperm Passing Through Vasectomy

Studies show that there is no increased risk of having a pregnancy with 3 readings of dead sperm on 3 consecutive sperm test when compared to readings of no sperm at all. We know that some men with no sperm on 1 test later show dead sperm and vice versa so it is not a consistently reliable in its absolute terms.

The chance of a sperm passing through the blockage in the sperm tubes is extremely small - especially once the sperm tubes are cut, cauterized and then separated by the fascial sheath barrier. But failure is possible.

Vasectomy Failure Rates

The incidence of vasectomy failure is estimated between .5% and 1% and varies with the skill and experience of the doctor and with the approach used to block the tubes. It is for this reason that testing semen samples is essential.

You can inquire about the success and complication rates of the vasectomy doctors you interview.

If, in the unlikely event that repeated semen checks show persistent live moving sperm, your vasectomy will have to be repeated.

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