- What are the options after a vasectomy and restoring my fertility?
Vasectomy is a common procedure offering permanent contraception to men. The surgical procedure is usually very successful and seals the vas deferens and prevents the transport of sperm out of the testes. This fertility ending procedure is sometimes prematurely made by men who then will need to look at their options to conceive.
There are two clear pathways to follow in this situation. A restorative vasectomy reversal can be performed with tubal re-anastomosis surgery. The success depends on several factors but ultimately the time from vasectomy to reversal is important here. The highest success rates for reversal tend to be seen in those whose initial vasectomy was performed less than 10 years ago. Sperm count can return quickly but it can take several months to see the results of restorative surgery.
Alternatively a Surgical Sperm Recovery procedure involves taking a biopsy from the testicle directly to use in an IVF cycle. Under sedation a needle is used to harvest sperm from the testicle. The procedure take about half an hour but the sperm can only be used in an IVF treatment cycle. Check out whether your local fertility clinic offers this treatment and the cost of the procedure.
- What is the impact of a vasectomy on my fertility chances?
There is some concern that the vasectomy procedure itself can impact on testicular and spermatic function. Sperm collected surgically from men who have undergone a vasectomy has been shown in the literature to be reduced in number compared to fertile men. However, as the sperm recovered surgically is injected directly into the egg using a technique called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) it does not appear to affect fertilisation. If the vasectomy has been performed greater than 10 years prior to the IVF cycle then this also is associated with lower pregnancy rates and can affect the success rates of IVF treatment.