Vasectomy Reversal: The Path to Natural Conception

Updated on: January 6, 2017

When it comes to conception, the medical advice that a professional will offer, should be based on individual circumstances. Before proceeding, it is important that each couple has a thorough understanding of all the available choices.

In many instances, couples are embarking on second marriages and want to have children together. They return to the doctors office because the man previously had a vasectomy, and, now that their life circumstances have changed, they are evaluating their options, including a vasectomy reversal (vasovasostomy).

Urologists frequently counsel couples about fertility and conception options. These medical specialists can explain Assisted Reproductive Technology - along with what, if any, benefits there are for your situation - to help you decide if these techniques are right for you.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be the right option for some, so theyíll want to look into surgical sperm retrieval. Donít be afraid to ask your urologist your fertility questions. Remember, they have heard these questions before and can offer valuable information.

Once couples look into all the assisted reproductive technology (ART) techniques that are available and weigh the alternatives and costs, they will often realize that vasectomy reversal is the best option.

Vasectomy Reversal vs. Surgical Sperm Retrieval

With today's fertility choices, couples might ask their doctor, "With all of the advanced assisted reproductive technology techniques available today, is a vasectomy reversal really necessary?" Couples may reason that if it is relatively easy to retrieve sperm, why should the man go through an operation? Doctors will usually tell you that, although assisted reproductive technology benefits do exist, ultimately, of all these techniques a vasectomy reversal is the only way to achieve a natural pregnancy. And for some couples that makes all the difference in the world.

Any other fertility approaches would require assisted reproductive techniques (ART) that are more expensive, pose potentially greater risk to the mother and, generally have a lower overall success rate: about 30 percent, compared to 70 percent success rates for a vasectomy reversal.

Understanding Assisted Reproductive Technology Benefits and Risks

The most common problem most couples experience is a lack of understanding about what is involved in artificial reproduction. Examples of ART techniques are intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

These techniques may offer the best course for some patients. But, in the case of a man after a vasectomy, any form of sperm retrieval would have to be completed with in vitro fertilization. While IVF may be the only option for some couples, it is not without its own risks. It requires the wife to have injections for four to six weeks, it results in higher rates of twins and triplets (which is more risky to babies and mother) and it costs $10,000 to $15,000 per attempt.

Making an Informed Decision

Surgical sperm retrieval may indeed seem like a simple procedure when compared to a vasectomy reversal - and may seem like an "easier" option for the man. But, it is only one step in achieving pregnancy. In light of all that is involved, the couple should understand the risks, the costs and the likelihood of success. A formal cost-benefit analysis has been done with the conclusion that, after a vasectomy in most cases, a vasectomy reversal is the best option to consider first a vasectomy and usually better than ART.

Once a couple has all this information, they are in a better position to make a knowledgeable decision.

In Summary:

  • A vasectomy can frequently be reversed with a procedure called a vasovasostomy.
  • Although assisted reproductive technology benefits some couples, a vasectomy reversal is the only course to a natural pregnancy.
  • Other assisted reproductive technology techniques, like in vitro fertilization (IVF) is usually more risky, cost more and / or have lower success rates than a vasectomy reversal.
  • Men should discuss surgical sperm retrieval with your doctor. Knowing all the steps involved for you and your partner is the best way to make an informed decision.
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