Vasectomy reversal success rates and results
The results from vasectomy reversal are exceptional with the restoration of sperm in up to 90% of men and successful pregnancy in the majority of couples. This is particularly so when the duration from vasectomy to reversal is less than 10 years and the age of your partner is less than 35 years.
Success from vasectomy reversal is measured in two ways. The first is the practical success of your operation: which means whether the surgery has led to the return of sperm in your ejaculate. The second and most important is functional success which is whether pregnancy is achieved.
Practical success - Return of sperm
Sperm returns in approximately 90% of men who have a vasectomy reversal within five years of their vasectomy. The outcome is higher for those with a shorter time from vasectomy to reversal and less for those with longer duration. Even in men who had a vasectomy more than 20 years ago sperm are present in the majority after vasectomy reversal.
Sperm usually return gradually – for the average man undergoing vasectomy reversal approximately 50% will have sperm present by 6 weeks after surgery; by 12 weeks up to 90%.
Real or functional success - Pregnancy Rates
For the average patient undergoing microsurgical vasectomy reversal the overall postoperative pregnancy rate is high at 50% to 80%.
Your personal probability of achieving a successful pregnancy after vasectomy reversal is dependent on two key factors:
- The duration of time since vasectomy
- Your partner’s age
The single most important factor influencing pregnancy chance following vasectomy reversal is female age. The younger your partner the higher the chance of successful pregnancy.
The shorter the time since the vasectomy, the higher the chance of a successful reversal. This is due to back pressure effects on the testis causing damage to sperm production. In addition the very fine tubule (epididymis) that carries sperm from the testis to the vas deferens can be damaged by this pressure. The epididymis can break open and then scar over so that there is a second blockage very close to the testis. This cannot be repaired.
Expertise and experience matter
The are a range of other influences on and predictors of successful vasectomy reversal including the type of vasectomy, post vasectomy testicular damage and in particular, prior IVF sperm extraction procedures.
Of all the things that you can control to maximise the chance of successful vasectomy reversal the most important is your choice of doctor. As there is a wide range of experience and expertise in doctors performing vasectomy reversal in Australia, the number of operations a surgeon performs is an major influence on success rates. The majority of surgeons perform less that 10 vasectomy reversals per year so choosing a specialist reproductive microsurgeon who performs large numbers of vasectomy reversal operations is important.
My entire clinical focus is fertility and fertility microsurgery.