What is vasectomy reversal?
Although a vasectomy should be regarded as permanent, advances in microsurgery have resulted in surgeons being able to reverse the procedure, and restore fertility, in many cases.
The technical name for a vasectomy reversal is a vasovasostomy. This is surgically performed by reconnecting the previously cut ends of the vas deferens to rebuild an open vas channel for sperm to again become part of the man's ejaculate.
Each year, a number of men elect to have a reversal of their vasectomy, often because of a change in their lives, such as having a new spouse through remarriage, and the desire for a second family, or a change in family planning goals within the same marriage. The reversal procedure is performed for about 50,000 men each year; a number that is growing with the more widespread availability of the procedure, reduced cost factors, and the training and experience of more surgeons who perform it.
The likelihood of successfully restoring an open vas channel involves many factors, but can be as high as 97 percent if the original vasectomy was performed less than three years previously. Success is also measured in terms of the reversal leading to pregnancy, which can be as high as 76 percent according to some studies.
However, these rates of success are lower as more time passes from the date of the original vasectomy. For those individuals who had a vasectomy over 15 years previously, these chances fall to 71 percent likelihood of restoring the vas channel, and 30 percent likelihood of a subsequent pregnancy.
Nevertheless, a reversal procedure is one of the most cost-effective procedures that couples may want to consider before other options.