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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.

Taking the Plunge

“Every single urologist” has been trained to perform vasectomy reversals, contends Marks. “But this is a very delicate, technically complex surgery that requires constant practice to get the optimal result. If you’re only doing it a few times, there’s no way you’ll be able to get the same results as full-time doctors.”

Marks suggests that patients seek out a reversal specialist. He contends that some general urologists who merely dabble in reversals may be unwilling or unable to perform the more complicated VE procedure.

But it’s not enough to know that a surgeon has performed a lot of reversals, Sharlip cautions. You should also gauge the surgeon’s reputation among nurses, gynecologists, or fertility specialists who know him or her. Your rapport with the surgeon is another factor to consider, Sharlip says.

A vasectomy reversal isn’t always the best way for men who have had vasectomies to father a child. For couples in which the female partner is older or has fertility problems, in vitro fertilization is another option.

The bottom line, urologists say, is that most men who have had vasectomies have a good chance at becoming fathers again. And for many of these men, a new shot at fatherhood is like discovering a fountain of youth.

“It’s amazing to have these miniature versions of yourself and to watch them grow,” says Luther Armstrong, 51, who fathered two more children after getting his reversal nine years ago. “It brings a smile to your face.”

Reviewed on June 13, 2007

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