There comes a point when couples make the decision that they are done having kids. Instead of using a form of birth control or having women go through sterilization, couples may make the choice for men to have a vasectomy, knowing that there will be no changes to performance post-surgery. And because they are so effective, there are no worries about becoming pregnant in most cases. That is unless minds are changed and the realization comes that after a vasectomy couples want to expand their family further by getting pregnant again. That is when decisions need to be made about what the best options are to try to make the dream of a larger family happen.
Making the decision to not have kids is one not to be taken lightly. This is especially true if a surgical procedure is being done to prevent pregnancy from happening. But there are times when parents think their family is just the right size, only to realize that it is not quite complete. And when this happens, there are ways to still have children, but it may not be as easy as it was before having surgery. Couples will need to keep in mind when trying for more babies after a vasectomy has been done.
RELATED: Age At Vasectomy Reversal Has No Impact On Conception Chances, Study Shows
Here is what to do if your husband has had a vasectomy but you both want children now.
What Is A Vasectomy?
After couples decide that they are done having children and do not want to worry about having to take birth control, they are left with the options of female sterilization or men having a vasectomy. While it is up to couples which is the best option for them, many times a vasectomy is chosen because it is a far less invasive procedure for men to undergo than it is for women.
According to the NHS, a vasectomy is an outpatient surgery where the tubes in the scrotum are either cut or sealed off to not allow any sperm to reach the semen. When this happens, men are still able to get erections and ejaculate, per the publication. They are just not able to get women pregnant.
The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes and happens under general anesthesia. Then men are sent home to recover for a few days, after which they will feel like themselves again.
Effectiveness Of A Vasectomy
There are stories about women getting pregnant after their husbands have had a vasectomy. This is rare. And while it needs to be taken into consideration when the discussion of a vasectomy is on the table, it does not need to be a dealbreaker for those looking for a permanent way to not get pregnant.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, a vasectomy is 99.99 percent effective. This means that it is very unlikely that women are going to get pregnant after their husbands have had the procedure done. As such, couples should think long and hard about whether they are truly ready to not have kids. Because while it is possible to do so after surgery, it becomes much more complicated.
Ways To Have A Baby After A Vasectomy
There are times when couples thought they were done having babies and went forward with a vasectomy, only to realize they were not. When this happens, there are ways to still have babies. But they are not as straightforward as it was before the surgery was completed.
According to the Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine, there are two options when it comes to trying to have children after a vasectomy. Those ways are a vasectomy reversal or IVF via aspirated sperm.
When couples choose the route of a vasectomy reversal, there are things that they need to take into consideration, per the publication. Those things include:
- The surgery is quite a bit more complicated and takes a specialist to sew the vas deferens back together
- The success rate of the reversal is 60 to 70 percent
- The amount of sperm produced is lower
- The longer the time has passed when the vasectomy took place, the less likely that sperm will be present in semen
- It can take several months to see sperm present in the semen
- There is the possibility that after the reversal is done that scar tissue may cause the tubes to close once again
While it can be a complicated journey to take, it is possible to have babies after a reversal. It all depends on how quickly couples want to potentially have babies which will determine if this is an appropriate route for them to take or not.
If the reversal does not feel like a good option for couples, there is also the route of IVF via aspirated sperm to consider. A route, that according to the Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine, has a much higher success rate than that of a reversal.
Things to consider when deciding if the IVF via aspirated sperm route is the best option, per the publication include:
- Women will have to begin IVF treatments which can be hard on the body
- IVF does mean any female fertility issues do not need to be contended with
- Only thousands of sperm are able to be aspirated from men versus millions. But that is fine considering only one healthy sperm is needed per egg retrieved.
- Success rates are "equal if not better" via IVF than they are with a vasectomy reversal
- While it can take two to three months to go through all the tests and procedures, the likelihood of getting pregnant when this is done is higher than the waiting period after the reversal
There are many things to consider with both procedures. By weighing the pros and cons, couples will be able to determine which procedure is right for them.
Cost Of Having A Baby After Vasectomy
The cost of having a baby after a vasectomy is no small amount. As such, this is something that couples will have to keep in mind when determining the best approach to having babies after vasectomy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several cost options couples can choose from when deciding to have more babies after a vasectomy has been done. Those options include:
- Microscopic vasectomy reversal in hospital: $16,000
- Microscopic vasectomy reversal in clinic: $6,000
- Robot-assisted vasectomy reversal: Cost varies
There will also be options of whether to freeze sperm at the time of the reversal and how long to freeze the sperm. Those costs, per the publication, run about $1,000 and then $250 to $500 yearly.
For those who opt for the IVF route, there are costs to think about as well. According to Win Fertility, those costs include:
- One IVF cycle: $12,400
- Fertility medication: $3,000 to $12,000
- Sperm aspiration: $3,000 to $12,000
Neither route is inexpensive. But if another baby is the end game, couples will want to consult with their insurance companies to see how much, if any, is covered to make this dream happen.
Success Of Having A Baby After Having A Vasectomy
Sources will vary when it comes to the success rates of both the vasectomy reversal and IVF via aspirated sperm procedures. But all figures are something for couples to keep in mind when making up their mind about the best approach to growing their family after a vasectomy.
According to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, the success rate of women getting pregnant after a vasectomy reversal is 30 to 70 percent. The return of sperm will also vary for men. And that figure can be very little up to 95 percent, depending on when the vasectomy was done.
For those who go the IVF route, according to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, the chances of getting pregnant are "about the same or somewhat higher" than those going through traditional IVF. That figure, according to Elite IVF is over 55 percent for those under the age of 35 and begins to go down as women age.
The best choice for couples who want to have a baby after a vasectomy has been done is a personal one. But armed with knowledge about what to expect, it can make the decision-making process a little easier.
After your vasectomy, if you change your mind about having children, there are two procedures that can help you have a child with your partner. The two options are: a vasectomy reversal or sperm aspiration prior to in vitro fertilization (IVF).
To be able to have children after a vasectomy you can undergo a vasectomy reversal or try In vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) using aspirated sperm.
There are two ways to restore a man's fertility after a vasectomy. One is vasectomy reversal. The other is to withdraw sperm from the testicle, inject it into an egg in the lab, and fertilize the egg, a procedure called sperm aspiration with ICSI and IVF.
After abstinence, vasectomies are considered the most effective method of birth control due to their long-term success rate of over 99%. In fact, only 1-2 women out of every 1,000 end up pregnant within a year of their partner receiving a vasectomy.
The total number of progressive motile sperm recorded was 2.5 million (WHO normal reference range, > 7.2 million). This case shows that late recanalization can occur up to seven years after a vasectomy and despite oligospermia, conception is still possible.
Vasectomy reversal is often the better choice over in vitro fertilization (IVF). Reversing vasectomy is more affordable and more successful than in vitro fertilization.
The procedure lasts about 20-25 minutes. The first step in a vasectomy is to locate and expose the vas deferens. The surgeon will then remove a small section of the vas deferens through a small incision to interrupt the vas which then prevents transport of sperm during ejaculation.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, a vasectomy reversal can cost $5,000 to $15,000. Research published in 2021 reported advertised prices for vasectomy reversal ranging from $1,990 to more than $14,000.
Men who have a vasectomy still ejaculate the same way in the same amounts – the only difference is that there is no sperm in the semen. The size, shape of look of the penis, testicles and scrotum is unchanged.
Can my partner tell if I have had a vasectomy? Sperm adds very little to the semen volume, so you shouldn't notice any change in your ejaculate after vasectomy. Your partner may sometimes be able to feel the vasectomy site. This is particularly true if you have developed a granuloma.
The average person getting a vasectomy was also found to have one to three children. Research in the American Journal of Men's Health found that the average age for a vasectomy was about 35, with the typical age range for the procedure between the ages of 30 and 56.
Is Getting Pregnant After a Vasectomy Possible? A vasectomy is one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy, with rates of pregnancy around 1/1,000 after the first year, and between 2-10/1,000 after five years. Most reports indicate that following a vasectomy a couple has a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant.
very rare. Less than 1% of vasectomies fail, which compares favorably to tubal ligation which has a 1.85% failure rate. But the risk is still there. So what causes vasectomy failure?
6-8 days following vasectomy several of 23 ejaculates still contained spermatozoa of the quality and number likely to produce pregnancy. 13-15 days after vasectomy all or the great majority of residual spermatozoa were dead.
Your semen will look just like it did before your vasectomy. Usually, semen has the consistency of thin mucus and a clear, gray, or white, opalescent color. Since the sperm makes up a very small volume of the semen, you won't notice a change in the amount you ejaculate.
How effective is a vasectomy reversal? The effectiveness of a vasectomy reversal is up to 90-95 percent. Vasovasotomy procedures (90-95 percent) generally have higher success rates than vasoepididymostomy procedures (65-70 percent).
Since the 1980s, the preferred method of vasectomy has been the no-scalpel vasectomy. This method is as effective as a traditional vasectomy. The no-scalpel procedure is less invasive and has a shorter recovery time, making it a popular option.
Vasectomies are VERY effective.
Vasectomies are permanent and one of the most effective kinds of birth control out there — more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. A vasectomy is effective because it's designed to be permanent, and there's no way you can mess it up or use it the wrong way.
In general, if you drink alcohol after your surgery, it will slow down the healing process and can thin your blood. Drinking alcohol has been linked to complications after surgery, like wound healing issues.
Rather than being a minor outpatient procedure, a reversal is performed under general anesthesia in the operating room. The recovery period is longer, about two to three weeks before full activities can resume, and the procedure is not typically covered by insurance.
About 50 out of 100 men say the pain after the reversal is like after their vasectomy. Another 25 out of 100 say the pain is less than after the vasectomy, and 25 out of 100 say it's greater. Pain bad enough to need medications rarely lasts longer than a few days to a week.
Sperm Retrieval and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
A treatment alternative to a vasectomy reversal is to use sperm retrieval combined with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to start a family. The woman's eggs and the man's sperm are retrieved to be combined in the lab via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Having some discomfort after vasectomy is common, but men with PVPS have pain that never seems to get better after the procedure. Signs and symptoms of PVPS may include: Pain and tenderness in the scrotum. Pressure or pain after ejaculation.
One of the most common questions about vasectomy is, “Will I gain weight after a vasectomy?” A vasectomy does not make you gain weight. What can affect your weight is if your lifestyle after the vasectomy changes and negatively impacts your weight. A vasectomy doesn't make a man feel less masculine or less productive.
A vasectomy only means that the ejaculate will not have sperm and can't fertilize the egg. Sperm makes up less than 3 percent of your ejaculate. There's no change in the look, taste, and amount of semen after a vasectomy.
The study revealed another possible link between vasectomy and a second form of dementia called frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Among 30 men who had undergone a vasectomy, 37 percent had this form of dementia, which causes changes in one's personality, lack of judgment and bizarre behavior.
Although it's a low-risk procedure, it's possible to get infections, chronic pain, and other complications after the vasectomy. However, a vasectomy doesn't directly cause impotence or affect your sexuality. The body's process for erections and climaxing is unrelated to the procedure.
Likelihood of pregnancy after a vasectomy
The likelihood of getting pregnant after a vasectomy is almost zero when couples wait at least 3 months following the procedure to have sex without birth control. After a vasectomy, a doctor will test the semen to assess whether there are sperm present.
The total cost of a sperm aspiration including freezing will generally be somewhere between $3000 and $12,000 – depending on the variables mentioned above.
In rare cases, the tube can regrow. If this does occur, the vas deferens is usually much smaller than it was before. Sometimes, sperm can make their way from one cut end of the vas deferens to the other. This is most common in the first three months after the procedure.
You will need to ejaculate directly into a sterile container provided by your clinic or lab. Avoid touching the inside of the cup and try to get the first part of your ejaculation in the cup, as it is thought to be the most sperm-rich. If any semen spills, do not attempt to transfer it to your cup.
General anesthesia is used to prevent pain during this EEJ procedure. It makes you unconscious. You do not feel any pain, and you do not remember the procedure afterwards. If PVS or EEJ don't work, a sperm retrieval method from the epididymis or testicle may be needed.
The most common way to collect semen is by masturbation, directing the semen into a clean sample cup. Do not use a lubricant. You can also collect a semen sample during sex by withdrawing your penis from your partner just before ejaculating and then ejaculate into a clean sample cup.