Reversing a Vasectomy: What You Need to Know
Quick quiz: What are the average patency and pregnancy success rates of a vasectomy reversal?
A. 70% and 55%
B. 40% and 30%
C. 20% and 10%
If you answered “A,” you’re correct! For patency — the sign of a successful procedure — the average rate is 70%. For pregnancy, or when a couple can conceive, the average rate is 55%. Depending on the fertility clinic and doctor, the success rates may be even higher.
Breaking Down Vasectomy Reversal Success Rates
Vasectomy reversal is a common, safe, and effective procedure, with about 30,000 men in the U.S. undergoing it annually. Essentially, a surgeon reconnects each vas deferens, the tube carrying sperm from a testicle into the semen. If successful, sperm will return to your semen and you are able to impregnate your partner. While its outcomes are impressive, many doctors achieve higher success rates.
For example, at Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists, Dr. Martin Bastuba provides patients with a vasectomy reversal patency success rate of 98% and a pregnancy success rate of between 65-75%. Patency means the sperm returns to the patient’s ejaculate after the reversal procedure, while pregnancy refers to the couple’s ability to conceive. It’s important to note that pregnancy success rates are usually lower than patency, as conception depends on factors other than your sperm.
Potential Vasectomy Reversal Risks
Almost all vasectomies can be reversed, even if several years have passed since the original procedure. However, the longer it’s been, the less likely the reversal will work. Regarding conception, you’re not guaranteed success, as your chances may be impacted by the reversal procedure itself. While relatively painless, it’s still surgery, and while serious complications are rare, possible risks include:
- Chronic, persistent pain
- Infections at the surgery site
- Bleeding, typically within the scrotum
- Anesthesia side effects
- A continued absence of sperm from the ejaculate
- The inability to initiate a pregnancy
- Loss of testicular tissue (rare)
It’s essential that an experienced, trained microsurgeon perform a vasectomy reversal, to ensure the best possible outcome. You may prefer to learn about the physician’s experience, success rates, how many reversals they’ve performed, and if anything in your medical or surgical history could reduce your success rates. The original vasectomy’s quality and success may also determine the reversal’s outcome.
Learn About Vasectomy Reversal Before Undergoing Surgery
A vasectomy reversal is a safe, effective procedure that provides men with the means to again conceive naturally. You, your partner, and your physician should first discuss whether you’re a viable candidate, along with potential risks. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Martin Bastuba, a renowned urologist and vasectomy surgeon, or for general fertility questions, we invite you to contact us for an appointment.