Vasectomy Reversal FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Vasectomy Reversal Surgery

Below are some frequently asked questions about vasectomy reversals. Educating yourself about the process can help you during your decision making process.

Q. Can any urologist perform a good vasectomy reversal?

A. It is impossible to perform a successful lvasectomy reversal without extensive training and special experience in microsurgery, especially reconstructive procedures such as vasoepididymostomy (VE). A physician should perform 20 to 100 vasectomy reversals a year to maintain expert proficiency. Most general urologists perform 0 to 2 vasectomy reversals a year. Though they consider themselves qualified, one must ask themselves how they have been able to maintain their proficiency in this extremely technical task. Dr. Bastuba is one of the 2% of urologists in the US who has received the specialized microsurgical training necessary and he regularly performs vasectomy reversals which keeps his technical skills sharp. If you are deciding on a male fertility specialist, make sure you ask questions about how many vasectomy reversals they perform, their expertise and specialty. A good idea is to ask to speak with some of their patients that have already undergone the procedure. It also is helpful to check their medical background including possible malpractice records. For Dr. Bastuba, these demanding procedures are a routine part of his daily practice. Read our tips on how to find a good vasectomy reversal doctor.

Q. Is it possible to reverse a vasectomy after 10 years?

A. Yes. Contrary to popularly beliefs, it is possible to have a successful vasectomy reversal 10 years after a vasectomy. Dr. Bastuba has successfully reversed patients up to 40 years following a vasectomy with pregnancy occurring in as early as a few months. However, chances are higher when performed by an experienced infertility microsurgeon like Dr. Bastuba. Watch vasectomy reversal patients tell their success stories on TV.

Q. Do men stop making sperm 10 years after a vasectomy?

A. No, a male does not stop producing sperm whether or not he has had a vasectomy. Factors that would stop sperm production are exposure to high doses of radiation, radioactivity or extensive chemotherapy.

Q. How soon after my reversal will I have sperm in my semen?

A. The return of sperm after the procedure  may be immediate or may take up to 12 months. The difference lies in the type of the procedure required and the intra-operative findings. If there are high numbers of very motile (swimming) sperm at time of the  reversal and vasovasostomy alone is required than it is common for sperm to be present at the initial semen analysis at one or two months post-op. If vasoepididymostomy is required on both sides than it can take six to 12 months or even longer for the return of sperm to the ejaculate. Conception can still occur even if there is a significant delay for the return of sperm to the ejaculate. For some couples, this is an important factor to consider and one of the reasons why females of advanced age or couples in a hurry to start their family will choose a sperm retrieval versus vasectomy reversal. Following the return of sperm to the semen, Dr. Bastuba recommends the freezing of sperm to lock in a good result. During the  recovery period, it is also important to check sperm counts at intervals post-op to make sure that late scarring and blocking of the tube has not occurred.

Q. What will my vasectomy reversal recovery be like?

A. Since the procedure is done in an outpatient setting, recovery time after the local anesthesia is short. Some patients compare post-op recovery similar to recovery after their vasectomy. Most of the discomfort or pain  can easily be controlled with medication such as Advil or Aleve. We will also give you a prescription for stronger medication just in case of discomfort. Please make sure that a family member or friend will care for you in the first twenty-four hours after the procedure. Read more information about patient care after the surgery.

Q. How does ICSI compare to a vasectomy reversal?

A. They each have advantages and drawbacks. In most situations a vasectomy reversal offers the most desirable option for pregnancy. It only requires one procedure to be performed on the male and then couples can then try to conceive with traditional intercourse. ICSI on the other hand requires that both partners undergo a procedure and the woman is stimulated with fertility drugs to treat a "male problem". Studies have shown the costs of establishing a pregnancy in this fashion are three times greater with ICSI than with a vasectomy reversal alone. Studies have also shown that it is even less expensive to have a failed vasectomy reversal with a redo than to have sperm retrieval with ICSI.

Q. When is sperm retrieval with ICSI preferable to a vasectomy reversal?

A. The advantage of ICSI is the possibility for some couples to establish a pregnancy quicker than with a vasectomy reversal. We recommend ICSI/sperm harvesting in those situations where a vasectomy reversal would be difficult or impossible, the female partner is of advanced reproductive age, or when there is also a female factor contributing to infertility. Each couples' circumstances are unique and need to be addressed on an individual basis. Our goal is to assist couples in having a child of their own, regardless of the path they choose. Read our information on alternatives.

Q. Should I try another vasectomy reversal if the first one was unsuccessful?

A. In most cases, failed reversals are due to technical mistakes by the surgeon. A second attempt for remains the less expensive and more effective choice. Since each case is different, specialists like Dr. Bastuba can evaluate your situation and offer you a solution. Read our information about failed vasectomy reversals.

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