A vasectomy reversal is a procedure that restores a man’s fertility after he has had a vasectomy. During a vasectomy, the tubes called the vas deferens are cut and blocked. This prevents sperm from being able to reach the semen and leads to sterility. A vasectomy reversal is done when a man changes his mind and wants his fertility restored. The surgeon will reconnect the vas deferens tubes so sperm can once again travel from the testicles into the semen. There are a few reasons a man might want a reversal – he is in a new relationship and wants to have children, his original partner has changed her mind about having more kids, or he himself has had a change of heart.
The vasectomy reversal procedure is done through microsurgery. The surgeon will make small incisions in the scrotum to access the vas deferens tubes. Using specialized tools and an operating microscope, the surgeon will remove any blockages from the vas deferens. The severed ends of the tubes are then stitched back together in a process called a vasovasostomy. In some cases, the vas deferens may instead be directly reattached to the epididymis through a vasoepididymostomy procedure. The epididymis holds the storage of sperm. Reconnecting the vas deferens allows sperm to once again travel from the testicles through the vas deferens into the semen so fertility can be restored. The procedure typically takes 2-3 hours.
Expect some pain, bruising and swelling for 1-2 weeks after the surgery. You’ll need to limit strenuous activity for about a week. Use ice packs on the scrotum to help minimize pain and swelling. Your doctor will likely prescribe pain medication as well. Plan to take it easy and rest for the first few days. After 1-2 weeks, you should follow up with your doctor to check healing. He may have you wear athletic support for 2-4 weeks to help healing. You can resume sexual activity in 4-6 weeks. Within 2 months, you should be back to full physical activity.
The success of a vasectomy reversal depends on several factors:
Pregnancy rates are 50-70% in the first year after reversal, and up to 90% after 2-3 years. But even a highly skilled surgeon can’t guarantee success. Previous surgeries near the site or development of antibodies can reduce fertility too. Your doctor will examine sperm under a microscope about 6-8 weeks after the procedure to give you an idea if it was effective. Additional fertility testing may be needed to fully determine if the reversal worked.
A vasectomy reversal is considered a safe procedure with minimal risks. As with any surgery, there are small chances of bleeding, infection or pain issues. Specific risks include:
Your surgeon will discuss these risks and make sure you fully understand the procedure before scheduling it.
Expect to pay between $5,000-$15,000 out-of-pocket for the procedure in the U.S. Prices are affected by the surgeon’s experience and training, the region where you have it done, and use of the latest microsurgical techniques. Unfortunately most insurance does not cover vasectomy reversals since they are considered elective. Shop around for competitive pricing from qualified surgeons.
It’s important to have your vasectomy reversal done by a highly experienced microsurgeon. Look for the following credentials:
Schedule consults with a few surgeons to find one you trust. Ask about their experience, success rates, and hospital credentials. An expert surgeon skilled in vasectomy reversals can maximize your chances of restored fertility.