Having a change of heart after getting snipped? Some couples may decide to have a child after a vasectomy. A vasectomy is the highest form of birth control for men. And about 500,000 undergo the procedure each year. However, the procedure does not mean all hope is lost. Over the years, science and medicine have combined to give couples a way to conceive after vasectomy. The hard part is choosing which path is best: a vasectomy reversal or IVF.
Doctors perform a vasectomy by cutting or blocking the vas deferens. These are two tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. The testes will still produce sperm. But the sperm gets reabsorbed by the body. Over time, sperm production stops, making men sterile. Vasectomies are a simple outpatient procedure with minor pain. The procedure has an almost 100% success rate.
Men can get a vasectomy reversal in two ways. Surgeons can reconnect the severed tubes that carry sperm. Or, in minor cases, surgeons can attach the tubes directly to the epididymis. The epididymis is a long tube that transfers sperm from the testes to the vas deferens. This procedure is more advanced, difficult to perform, and has a lower success rate. Doctors turn to this method if reconnecting the vas deferens did not work.
For years, infertile couples have used IVF, or in vitro fertilization, to assist with pregnancy. With IVF, a clinic extracts an egg and sperm to fertilize outside the body. A doctor then implants the new embryo in the woman’s womb. Data shows IVF has an up to 70% success rate. Men turn to IVF for pregnancy while still maintaining the vasectomy. In this case, doctors will need to extract sperm directly from the testes. Sperm extracted using this method may be both immature and low in sperm count. However, the sample will work best with procedures like ICSI.
While both procedures can help with pregnancy, there are several factors to consider. A vasectomy reversal works well for younger couples who want to conceive naturally. However, getting pregnant naturally after a reversal can take several months. This can lead to frustration and disappointment. IVF is an effective method for older men with vasectomies. IVF can also be useful if the vasectomy is not recent. The less recent the vasectomy, the lower the odds of a successful reversal. However, the cost, medical procedures, and time involved can be an issue. Also, IVF brings the possibility of multiple births. Couples should be mindful of the benefits and drawbacks and choose the best procedure.
Vasectomy reversal and IVF are effective ways for men with vasectomies to have a child. Speak to a urologist for a detailed assessment of reproductive health. Doctors look at sperm health, reproductive history, and hormone production. From there, the urologist will advise whether IVF or vasectomy reversal is the right way to go.