Vasectomy reversal surgery success rate

Vasectomy reversal is considered a success if sperms are found in the ejaculate after reversal surgery.

The success of vasectomy reversal depends on factors such as the time gap between vasectomy and the attempt at vasectomy reversal, the type of vasectomy reversal surgery performed (vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy),the presence of antisperm antibodies, the skill and experience of the operating surgeon and any other condition in the male genital tract which may interfere with sperm production (for eg.varicocele).

Vasectomy reversal has more chances of being a success if it is done soon after the original vasectomy. The statistics from the largest research study of vasectomy reversal surgery by vasovasostomy is shown below:

Years between vasectomy and reversal
Sperm return in semen
Pregnancy rate
<3
97%
76%
4-8
88%
53%
9-14
79%
44%
>15
71%
30%

The success rates for vasectomy reversal by vasoepididymostomy is much lower. About 65% of men will have sperms in their semen after vasoepididymostomy and the associated pregnancy rate is 41%.

Semen analysis is done 4 weeks after the vasectomy reversal and periodically afterwards to measure sperm count and motility. Sperms do not appear in the ejaculate immediately following vasectomy reversal surgery. It usually takes 6 months after vasovasostomy and 18 months after vasoepididymostomy for sperms to appear in the semen. If sperms do not appear, then the vasectomy reversal is considered a failure.

Vasectomy reversal failure generally occurs due to the formation of scarring at the site of surgery. This scarring obstructs the flow of sperms through the vas deferens. Vasectomy reversal failure may also occur when the obstruction is in the epididymis and a vasovasostomy is preformed instead of a vasoepididymostomy.

Often, a repeat vasectomy reversal surgery maybe successful.

About 75% of men develop antisperm antibodies in their blood following a vasectomy. These antibodies if present in the semen, interfere with the mobility and fertilizing capacity of the sperms in the female genital tract. The blood antisperm antibodies do not co-relate with the chances of achieving pregnancy, and so tests for antisperm antibodies in the blood do not indicate the prognosis of vasectomy reversal. If antisperm antibodies are detected in the semen, IVF with ICSI maybe successful in achieving pregnancy.

Glossary of terms used in this page:

Antisperm antibodies: Antisperm antibodies are proteins which inhibit motility and decreases the fertilizing capacity of the sperms. They maybe present in the blood or semen of men and in the blood or cervical mucus of the female.

Epididymis: Epididymis is a tube-like structure which connects the testis and the vas deferens. The sperms are stored and matured in the epididymis.

IVF (InVitro Fertilization): IVF is a treatment for infertility. Here the egg and sperms are incubated in a dish outside the body of the woman. After fertilization occurs, the embryos are transferred into the uterus of the woman.

ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection): This is a type of invitro fertilization. Here a single sperm is injected directly into the egg in the lab.

Semen Analysis: Semen analysis is the microscopic study of semen to determins the number of sperms and their shapes and their ability to move.

Varicocele: Varicocele is the swelling of veins that carry blood out of the scrotum. This condition may cause infertility in some men.

Vas deferens: Vasa deferentia are thin tubes which carry sperms from the testes to the urethra. Vas deferens is also known as sperm duct. Each vas deferens is about 45 cms long.

Vasoepididymostomy: Vasoepididymostomy is a method of vasectomy reversal surgery where the vas deferens is connected to the epididymis.

Vasovasostomy: Vasovasostomy is a method of vasectomy reversal surgery where the two cut ends of the vas deferens are reconnected.

Next Complications of vasectomy reversal surgery