Vasectomy Reversal Success Rates
The answer to the question, “Will it work?” is most likely to be yes. To put it briefly, the success rate for vasectomy reversals is high, with the restoration of sperm in up to 90% of men and the majority of couples going on to achieve pregnancy. Key factors in this chance of success are the time between vasectomy and reversal - less than 10 years is best - and the age of the female partner - less than 35 years gives you a better chance. The skill and experience of the Specialist is also a vital element to consider.
Getting down to specifics, doctors assess the success of a vasectomy reversal in two ways:
- They look for the practical success of your surgery by checking that the procedure has resulted in the return of sperm. This is known as patency. In most cases, sperm returns gradually. Six weeks post-surgery, up to 50% of men will have sperm present, rising up to 90% by 12 weeks post-surgery.
Men who have a shorter gap between their vasectomy and reversal have higher outcomes than those who have a gap of more than 10 years. However, studies show that even in men who had a vasectomy more than 20 years ago, many of them will still see a return of sperm after the reversal.
- A doctor assesses the vasectomy success rate is functional success - ie the patient getting their partner pregnant. The overall postoperative conception rate is quite high - between 50% to 80%.
That’s the statistic but how do you figure out your own personal chance of getting your partner pregnant after a vasectomy reversal? It’s most dependent on two factors; the amount of time since you had the vasectomy and your partner’s age.
That’s because the single most important factor influencing pregnancy rates and the birth of a baby following vasectomy reversal is female age. The younger your partner, the higher the chance of successful pregnancy.
Similarly, the shorter the time since the vasectomy, the higher the chance of a successful reversal. This is because over time, back pressure on the testis following a vasectomy can cause damage to sperm production. Additionally, the very fine tubule (epididymis) just next to the testis can be damaged by this pressure and can break open and then regrow with scars causing a second blockage very close to the testis.
Finally, the surgical technique used for the procedure and the skill and experience of the Specialist conducting the operation are both highly important. The best results are obtained when you visit a Specialist trained in microsurgical techniques. Genea Fertility Specialist Dr Derek Lok
conducts highly specialised microsurgical vasectomy reversal through small scrotal incisions, resulting in rapid recovery.
A study conducted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Vasovasostomy Study Group and published in the Fertility and Sterility Journal1
found that in 1,247 patients the patency and pregnancy rates were 97% and 76% if the obstructive interval was less than three years, 88% and 53% if the interval was three to eight years, 79% and 44% if nine to 14 years, and 71% and 30% if 15 years or longer.