Success Rates of Vasectomy Reversal Operation

In the hands of an experienced surgeon who uses a microsurgical technique for vasectomy reversal, patients have a greater than 90% chance of having sperm present in their test samples at 3 months. These results and the subsequent pregnancy rates are most strongly influenced by the time interval between vasectomy and the reversal . 

This can be seen in the table below which is derived from the results of the largest published report of microsurgical vasectomy reversals from a number of centres is the U.S.A.

Interval between vasectomy and reversal Less than 3 years 3-8 years 9-14 years More than 15 years
Sperm in ejaculate 96.9% 87.5% 78.5% 71.1%
Pregnancies 75.6% 52.9% 44% 29.7%
Reference: Results of 1,469 microsurgical vasectomy reversals by the Vasovasostomy Study Group. Belker A.M. et al  The Journal of Urology 1991 ;  Vol. 145  : 505-511


Other factors affecting the success of vasectomy reversals

Female  age - The second most important factor affecting success rates after vasectomy reversal is the female partners age.  Provided your partner is having regular menstrual periods and does not have a  known gynaecological problem,  vasectomy reversal may still be successful.  There are blood tests which can indicate whether a woman is ovulating  ( 21 day progesterone) and whether she has a good reserve of eggs ( 5 day FSH) . Women aged over 37 are advised to have these checked by their GP  before their partners have the  reversal operation.

Anti-sperm antibodies - A common problem which prevents pregnancy occurring after an otherwise successful vasectomy reversal is the presence of anti-sperm antibodies in the semen.  These are caused by a man’s immune system reacting to a leak of his own sperm after the vasectomy. The antibodies cause sperm to stick together such that they are unable to swim properly.  If the effect of these antibodies is severe then the only effective treatment is with IVF.

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More information about vasectomy reversal

Frequently asked questions about vasectomy reversal

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