Chances of Getting Pregnant After Vasectomy

Although a male vasectomy is performed as a permanent means of birth control, changes in marital status or reproductive goals may lead you to consider having the procedure reversed. In many cases, pregnancy after vasectomy is possible when a reversal is performed. However, it is not as simple as just having the reversal procedure. Several factors affect the success of a vasectomy reversal, including partner age, length of time since a vasectomy, type of vasectomy, and fertility issues prior to vasectomy.

Overall, chances of getting pregnant after vasectomy are fairly high, with 50%-70% of couples conceiving, as long as there are no additional fertility issues and it has been less than 8 years since your vasectomy. If it has been 9 or more years since your vasectomy, your chances of achieving pregnancy after vasectomy reversal drop below 50%.


What to expect after a vasectomy reversal

Vasectomy reversals have few post-operative complications. On average, your sperm will return within 3-6 months after a male vasectomy reversal procedure. However, it may take longer to reach a favorable sperm count necessary for pregnancy after vasectomy.

It is possible for couples to get pregnant as soon as a few weeks after a vasectomy reversal while others can take up to two years.


What if vasectomy reversal is not effective?

If you are unable to conceive within a year and/or your sperm counts do not look good six or more months after you have had your vasectomy reversed, you should consider IVF. If your sperm was retrieved and frozen during your original vasectomy or the reversal, it can be used to fertilize your partner’s egg to achieve a successful pregnancy. If sperm were not banked during either procedure, testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) can be done to harvest your sperm prior to performing IVF.


How to increase your chances of getting pregnant after vasectomy

Before you have your vasectomy reversed, it is important to have your female partner tested for fertility issues. If she has infertility factors, it may not make sense to perform a reversal if natural conception is unlikely. Also, if your female partner is over the age of 35, time is of the essence to conceive, and you may not want to wait up to a year after reversal surgery to see if your sperm return. In these cases, sperm retrieval and IVF may be the best option.


Choosing sperm retrieval and IVF

If the odds are stacked against you in terms of your chances of getting pregnant after vasectomy, you may elect to go with in vitro fertilization (IVF) instead of a vasectomy reversal. If so, there are 4 types of sperm retrieval to consider: PESA, MESA, TESE, and TESA.



With percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA) no incision is required. Under local anesthesia, an embryologist will insert a small needle into the caput epididymis through the scrotal skin and remove fluid that will include sperm. In this part of the reproductive tract the sperm are not yet able to swim (motile), so intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) will be required along with IVF.



Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) requires general anesthesia and a small incision in a tubule that carries sperm. The fluid carrying the sperm spills out of the tubule and is then collected to harvest sperm. Afterwards, the small incision is closed or cauterized.



Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) is a testicular biopsy that requires a small incision in the testis to remove sperm.



Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) is when a small needle is inserted directly into the testis and drawing out fluid and tissue in order to extract sperm.

Each sperm retrieval method has its pros and cons, and your Inovi Fertility Specialist can help you make the best choice for your particular fertility journey.


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