Vasectomy reversal is a complicated procedure that isn't always guaranteed to work.
A vasectomy, also known as "male sterilisation". works by preventing sperm from the testes (the male sex glands that produce and store sperm) reaching the semen that is ejaculated during orgasm.
This is achieved by cutting or blocking the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the penis.
A vasectomy is usually considered to be a permanent form of contraception because it is not always possible to reverse the procedure. If you are considering having a vasectomy, you should bear this in mind and think very carefully before making your decision.
Reversing a vasectomy involves rejoining the sperm-carrying tubes that were cut or blocked during your vasectomy.
Can I get a vasectomy reversal on the NHS?
Vasectomy reversal is not usually available on the NHS. If it is available in your area, there may be a very long waiting list. Speak to your GP for more information.
It is possible to have a vasectomy reversal carried out privately, but it may cost several thousand pounds. The problem with the procedure is that success rates are not very high and there is no guarantee that your fertility will return.
Success rates for vasectomy reversal
Whether or not a vasectomy reversal is successful may depend on what type of vasectomy you had and how long ago it took place. For example, the more time that has passed since your vasectomy, the more scar tissue will have developed in the tubes that carry sperm to your penis.
It is estimated that the success rate of a vasectomy reversal is:
- 75% if you have your vasectomy reversed within three years
- up to 55% after three to eight years
- approximately 30-40% after nine to 19 years
These figures are based on the number of couples who successfully have a baby after the man has had a vasectomy reversal. Pregnancy rates also depend on the fertility of the female partner and are lower if she is 40 or older.
In some cases pregnancy still may not happen after a vasectomy reversal, even when there is sperm in your semen. This is because your sperm may be less mobile after the procedure than they were before.
It may be possible to have fertility treatment in these cases. You should see your GP for further information and advice about this.
Article provided by NHS Choices