Urology Blog

Vasectomy Reversal: What Happens in the Event of Failure?

Not long ago, having a vasectomy meant permanently altering the ability to conceive. This is a big decision for any man. As we have learned through years of providing vasectomy reversal services, life has a way of changing things. Fortunately, a vasectomy doesn’t carry the same permanence it once did. Many men who undergo vasectomy reversal have a strong chance of conceiving with their partner in the future. However, as with all things, there is no guarantee of success in this process. Here, we discuss what qualifies as a vasectomy reversal failure and what this event means for a couple’s hope to conceive.

Details about Vasectomy Reversal Failure

The vasectomy reversal procedure reconnects the vas deferens to return sperm to the semen. This return can take a full 12 months to happen. During the year after a vasectomy reversal, 85% of men treated regain the ability to procreate. Still, statistics indicate that only about half of the couples who try will become pregnant. This is because there are several factors involved, only some of which are related to the vasectomy reversal itself. We’ll start with those that do:

  1. Time since vasectomy is one of the leading factors that can affect the success of a reversal procedure. Experts believe that this is due to the increased likelihood of epididymal blockage.
  2. The vasectomy technique that is commonly selected first does not address blockage. Most men undergo a vasovasostomy, which reconnects the vas deferens only. When tubules are blocked, sperm may be returned to the seminal vesicles with a vasoepididymostomy.
  3. Scar tissue may develop after any type of surgery. The scar tissue that forms after a vasectomy can be addressed during vasectomy reversal. However, more scar tissue may create a blockage in the vas deferens, preventing sperm from reaching the seminal vesicles.

An additional reason why a vasectomy reversal may fail is that a man had undetected fertility issues before his vasectomy. Potential concerns include testicular atrophy and low sperm quality. As a couple attempts to become pregnant, it is also beneficial to evaluate viable fertility in the female partner.

What Happens After a Failed Vasectomy Reversal?

A lack of success with vasectomy reversal interestingly doesn’t mean that a man will never regain fertility. In many cases, a second reversal surgery can achieve the desired outcome. Statistics indicate that a second vasectomy reversal is successful 75% of the time. In these cases, just like an initial vasectomy reversal, approximately half of all couples become pregnant.

Are you considering vasectomy reversal? Contact our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910 to schedule a consultation with an experienced urologist.

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