Anyone contemplating a vasectomy reversal has questions about what factors affect the success of this procedure. While each patient is different and reading an article cannot take the place of discussing your particular situation with your physician, the following is important information about factors which can affect your vasectomy reversal success rate.
One of the most important factors affecting success of vasectomy reversal procedures is the length of time from vasectomy to reversal procedure. If it has been three years or less since the vasectomy was preformed, there is a 97% chance of rebuilding the vas deferens channel resulting in motile sperm in the ejaculate following the vasectomy reversal. If it has been 3 to 8 years since the vasectomy, the chance of success is around 88%. After 15 years this rate falls to around 70%. Remember, though, that these are rates of potency with motile sperm in the ejaculate being the end point. Pregnancy rates are lower. The chance of achieving a pregnancy after vasectomy reversal is around 75% if the vasectomy was three years ago or less. Increased time from vasectomy to reversal also decreases the pregnancy rate.
Experience of the surgeon is another factor that is an important part of the success rate. Surgeons with more experience doing vasectomy reversals will have better results. The procedure is complex requiring skill and judgment. The sutures that hold the vas deferens together are smaller than human hair. Visualization with an operating microscope also affects success rates. A surgeon experienced in vasectomy reversal will likely use this technique.
Another factor affecting the success of a vasectomy reversal is the presence of motile sperm in the testicular portion of the vas deferens at the time the reversal procedure is performed. This can only be assessed at the time of surgery when fluid from the vas deferens can be viewed under the microscope. Since a vasovasotomy or reattaching the two ends of the vas deferens is a simpler procedure than a vasoepididymostomy, which is required if the proximal vas deferens is blocked.
In addition to these major factors, health and age of the man undergoing the vasectomy reversal will affect the success of the procedure. Prior to making the decision to have a vasectomy reversal, each patient should consult with his surgeon to determine a reasonable chance of success. The decision to have a vasectomy reversal should be made with these factors in mind.