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Published: July 9, 2023

How Long are Vasectomies Reversible?

Understanding Vasectomy Reversals

Vasectomy is a common procedure for those who choose to become permanently infertile. However, what if circumstances change and you want to restore your fertility? Is there a specific window of time where you are able to get a reversal? Does the time after vasectomy matter? How long exactly are vasectomies reversible?

While less than 10% of those who get vasectomies choose reversal, making it relatively uncommon, it's still a widely considered procedure. Many think about reversal even before getting a vasectomy in the first place, as they think about all the "what ifs" in their lives.

Please note that while our vasectomy clinic in Livermore does not perform vasectomy reversals, we understand that reversals are a common concern. Since we believe in empowering our patients with information on all aspects of vasectomy, we want to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Is Every Vasectomy Reversible?

If you get a vasectomy by a qualified clinician, then yes, your vasectomy is reversible. However, success is not guaranteed. Factors such as scar tissue, the type of original vasectomy, potential blockages, and the time elapsed since the procedure can all influence the success of the reversal. The surgical and anesthetic methods used for reversal also vary depending on the patient, as well as the surgeon, hospital, or clinic.

So, if you got a vasectomy at a reliable clinic, and didn't have severe side effects from the vasectomy, and no other major health concerns: yes, you can talk to your doctor about a reversal.

When Is the Best Time for Vasectomy Reversal?

Generally, the sooner a vasectomy is reversed, the higher the chances of success. Studies suggest that reversals performed less than 10 years after the vasectomy have a higher success rate. Success simply means that viable sperm is again part of ejaculate, enabling a potential pregnancy.

How Does Time Affect Reversal Success?

Success rates are best before 10 years and decline significantly after 15 years. However, the window for a successful vasectomy reversal extends up to 25 years, sometimes longer. There is no strict timeline for vasectomy reversal success.

The development of blockages or other issues in the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm) can complicate the reversal surgery, making it more challenging and potentially affecting the outcome. The longer it has been since the vasectomy, the higher chances of failure.

Are There Alternatives If Vasectomy Reversal Fails?

In some cases, if the success rate for reversal is predicted to be low, sperm retrieval is often a great alternative. This enables in-vitro fertilization with the retrieved sperm. Achieving pregnancy this way bypasses potential fertility issues associated with a long-elapsed vasectomy.

When Can I Expect Results After Reversal?

If the reversal is successful, it can take anywhere from a few months to over a year for sperm to return to the semen. But remember, even with successful surgery, getting a partner pregnant depends on various other factors, including health, age, timing, previous pregnancies, lifestyle choices, etc.

Although it's relatively uncommon to reverse a vasectomy (with less than 10% choosing to do it), having the right information can help you make an informed decision should you reconsider your fertility options.

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Livermore, CA 94550
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