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7- Is a vasectomy reversible? How do age, time and other factors impact the success rate?

Note: Is vasectomy reversible, can also be asked:
         Can a vasectomy be reversed?
         Can you reverse a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is reversible but success and pregnancy are not guaranteed. During the vasectomy the vasectomy doctor cuts or blocks the vas deferens, the tubes that carry the sperm. Microsurgery is necessary to make the vasectomy reversible. A vasectomy is reversed by reattaching the cut ends of the vas deferens, so the sperm can flow again though the ejaculate.

Though vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of birth control, sometimes, there are good reasons to have a change of mind or a change of heart and seek to reverse a vasectomy. 5 to 10% of men do change their minds at a later date to have their vasectomy reversible.

Microsurgical vasectomy reversal techniques have improved over years. Success rates for reversing a vasectomy have improved and make vasectomy more reversible. As a result, more vasectomy reversals are performed. Even still, there is no guarantee that a vasectomy reversal will result in pregnancy. There are studies that indicate sperm recovery successfully occurs (called patency rate) in up to 90 percent of vasectomy reversal patients; and of those patients, approximately 50 percent achieve pregnancy. Some doctors claim their vasectomy reversal success rates are even higher.

Reversing a vasectomy is a more involved and complicated surgery that takes longer. Add to that a much higher cost and emotional stress. One of the major factors effecting vasectomy reversal success is vasectomy age.

Vasectomy Age

Vasectomy age refers to the length of time since your vasectomy was performed. At best, a vasectomy can be reversed with a success rate of 70 to 75% within three years after the vasectomy surgery is performed. Different figures are reported which can be attributed to individual circumstances, the doctor and the re-connection technique. After the first year, vasectomy age affects the vasectomy reversal success rate by dropping a further 10% in each successive year.

Vasovasostomy or an Epididmovasostomy

Making vasectomy reversible is accomplished using one of two reconnection techniques the vasovasostomy or an epididmovasostomy. The vasectomy reversal doctor looks for sperm present within the fluid coming from the cut-end of the testicular vas deferens. If it is present, the vasovasectomy technique is performed, which is the simplest and offers the greatest chance of success. The greater the vasectomy age, the greater are the odds that sperm will not be present. If the vas tube has no sperm present, the epididmovasostomy technique is performed. Other determining factors include a large segment of the vas having been removed, cauterization or ligation (tying off) of both ends of the cut vas instead of just one (i.e. doing a closed ended vasectomy instead of open ended) during the vasectomy.

NOTE: Not all doctors have the skill to perform epididmovasostomy.

Sperm Banking

After considering these statistics before the vasectomy, many men's conclusions about vasectomy reversibility lead them to sperm bank (cryopreservation).  This is a way of insuring against the possibility of a change of mind. There are facilities available to store your sperm in a cyrogenic freezer for a fee in the event that the unforeseen arises later in life and you should want more children.
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Learn more:
Pre and post operative considerations
The technique used
Types of reconnection: two methods
Vasectomy reversal cost


In conclusion, vasectomy is a procedure that is reversible. A vasectomy reversal doctor can reverse a vasectomy, thus making vasectomy reversible (it can be reversed) . Making it reversible is dependant upon some of the above listed factors and considerations. We invite you to learn more by beginning in our vasectomy reversal section.

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