So you’ve changed your mind about having that vasectomy and want to know if you can have it reversed. The truth is, you often can have it reversed, but the surgery is more complicated than a vasectomy.
During a vasectomy, your doctor cuts or blocks the tubes, called the vas deferens, which carry sperm from your testes to your penis. In a vasectomy reversal, your doctor has to rejoin these tubes back together so that sperm can reach the semen you ejaculate during orgasm.
How Is a Vasectomy Reversed?
This can be done using one of two methods. The first is through vasovasostomy, where your doctor sews the vas deferens from the testes to the penis back together.
The second method is vasoepididymostomy. Here, the doctor attaches the vas deferens to the small organ at the back of each testicle that holds sperm. It’s far more difficult than a vasovasostomy. Your doctor may only choose this method if you can’t have a vasovasostomy or if he doesn’t think it will work.
Vasectomy reversals are performed in a hospital or clinic. You’ll be given anesthesia so you’re not awake and don’t feel anything during the procedure. It usually takes about 2 to 4 hours, and you usually go home the same day. Recovery takes about 2 weeks.
Vasectomies can be reversed a number of times. But the success rate may decrease with each reversal.
Who Should Have It Done?
If you’ve had a change of heart and want to start a family or add to yours, you might consider having your vasectomy reversed. Some men who have lost a child may consider this an option as well.
For a small number of men, the procedure may be helpful to relieve the pain in your testicles caused by a previous vasectomy.
What Are the Side Effects?
They’re rare. But when they do occur, they may include:
Bleeding in your scrotum. This can lead to painful swelling. To avoid it, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders before and after surgery.
Infection. This is always a possibility with any procedure. If you get one, your doctor will most likely treat it with antibiotics.
Severe or persistent pain. Call your doctor right away if you have pain that doesn’t ease up with over-the-counter medicines.
How Can I Tell If It Worked?
You’ll know your vasectomy reversal was successful if sperm appear in your semen after a few months. Your doctor will collect samples and examine them for 4 to 6 months -- enough time for your counts to stabilize.
If you have a vasovasostomy, it could take 6 to 12 months before sperm return. And if you had a vasoepididymostomy, it may take even longer than a year for sperm to appear in your semen.
Once your sperm comes back, your chances to conceive could go up, too. But the success of your vasectomy reversal surgery will depend on many things, including the type of surgery you originally had, and if there are any other factors keeping you and your partner from getting pregnant.
Will It Affect My Sex Life?
It shouldn’t. But don’t have sex or ejaculate until your doctor gives you the “all clear.” Most doctors recommend that you wait 2 to 3 weeks to have sex.