Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

A Second Chance: Vasectomy Reversals

They’re expensive and complicated, but vasectomy reversals may be worth it for men who want a second lease on fatherhood.
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

For most men who get a vasectomy, the thought of a needing a vasectomy reversal later is the last thing on their mind. Gene McCroskey was just 23 when he had his vasectomy. He had already fathered a boy and a girl, timed just as he wanted. “His wife had endured two difficult pregnancies. Why, he figured, would he want additional children?

Thirty years later, it was time for a new fairy tale. McCroskey had divorced the mother of his children and met a new woman who wanted children of her own. McCroskey decided to try to get his vasectomy reversed. But “the doctors in Phoenix wanted $8,000 to $12,000 for the operation,” McCroskey’s current wife, Michelle, tells WebMD. “And when they found out he was over 20 years out [from his vasectomy], they didn’t even want to try.”

A Tucson-based urologist, Sheldon Marks, MD, took on McCroskey’s case. Today, McCroskey is the proud, 62-year-old father of Jessica, 8, and Kaitlin, 9. “It’s really exciting to see them discover things and figure things out,” he says. Marks is a partner at the International Center for Vasectomy Reversal and also a urology expert on WebMD.

Vasectomies are commonly considered a permanent form of birth control. Reversals are expensive and complicated surgical procedures, and success is not guaranteed. But many doctors report very high success rates from vasectomy reversals. And specialists in the procedure reject the notion -- widely held even in the medical community -- that the procedure is rarely successful in men who had their vasectomy more than 10 years earlier.

“If you don’t think you have a chance at a reversal, you do,” says Rick Bellah, whose vasectomy was reversed by Marks a whopping 42 years after the original procedure. Bellah and his wife, Eloi, now have a 3-year-old girl, who has a 50-year-old half-sibling.

A Big Decision

Of the half-million men who have a vasectomy each year, an estimated 2% to 6% later decide to have a vasectomy reversal, according to Cleveland Clinic. A common situation involves a divorced man whose new wife has never had children, says Ira D. Sharlip, MD, a urologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and a spokesman for the American Urology Association.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed