Thanks to several improvements in surgical techniques in recent years, the success rates of vasectomy reversal have never been better. Generally, between 40 and 90 percent of men who undergo this procedure regain fertility without much delay. This rate is somewhat dependent on factors such as the surgeon’s experience and the length of time that has gone by since the patient’s vasectomy. Here, we discuss what defines a vasectomy reversal failure and why it may this does not signal the end of your road to fatherhood.
The Definition of Vasectomy Reversal Failure
It can take time for sperm to be found in the semen after a vasectomy reversal. Within the first year after treatment, approximately 85% of men experience the return of sperm. However, studies suggest that only about half of couples conceive after vasectomy reversal. This is not due to a failed procedure but other influencing factors in the male or female partner.
What may Cause Vasectomy Reversal Failure
- Amount of time since vasectomy. The motto for vasectomy reversal seems to be “the sooner the better.” This is because the epididymis is more likely to become blocked the more time that goes by.
- Vasectomy reversal type. There are two common ways in which a vasectomy reversal may be performed. The first choice most surgeon’s make is to conduct a vasovasostomy, which reconnects the vas deferens that had been severed in the original vasectomy. If the epididymal tubules are blocked, this technique may be unsuccessful. To clear the blockage, a vasoepididymostomy needs to be performed.
- Scar tissue. Where the vas deferens is reconnected, there is a small chance that scar tissue may form. The dense tissue may block sperm from reaching the seminal vesicles.
- Undiagnosed fertility issues. Before a vasectomy, a man may have low sperm quality, a varicocele, or other unrecognized condition that may only be detected after his vasectomy reversal has failed.
What Can Be Done About a Failed Vasectomy Reversal?
The lack of sperm return to the semen after a vasectomy reversal does not have to be the end of the road. Men may undergo their reversal a second time. According to statistics, second vasectomy reversals are about 75% successful. Just like first reversal procedures, approximately half of the couples who need a second reversal are able to conceive.
If you are considering a vasectomy reversal, consult with an experienced physician in our Palm Desert urology office. Call (760) 346-1133 to schedule your visit.