Is There An Age Limit for a Vasectomy Reversal?
Many men decide to get a vasectomy as a way to permanently prevent any unwanted births. It’s a relatively common surgery. But for about one out of every 20 men who has a vasectomy, unexpected life events result in a decision to have a vasectomy reversal procedure.
This decision often raises a few questions — such as whether there’s an age limit for a vasectomy reversal. The short answer is that a man can get a vasectomy reversal at any age.
Another question is whether the procedure has just as high of a success rate for older men as it does for younger men. The short answer is that a man’s age, in and of itself, does not play a role in the success or failure of a vasectomy reversal.
However, there are a few age-related factors to consider. Here are the main ones:
How long has it been since your vasectomy?
As years go by after a vasectomy, pressure can build up between the vas deferens and the epididymis —two tubes that need to be connected in order for sperm to get to the semen. In some vasectomy reversals, this pressure may require the surgeon to use a less reliable technique called a vasoepididymostomy instead of the more common vasovasostomy. While a vasovasostomy has a success rate of more than 90 percent among U.S. patients, the success rate for a vasoepididymostomy is closer to 40-50 percent. Men who’ve had a vasectomy more than 10 years ago face about a 40 percent chance of needing a vasoepididymostomy during a vasectomy reversal.
Do you have any related health issues?
Men of any age can suffer from disease, immune system issues, bleeding issues and other complications, including a wide range of men’s health concerns. But when an older man has one or more of these issues, they can result in higher health risks. These risks should be considered prior to any surgical procedure.
How old is your partner?
While your age is relatively unimportant, remember that a woman’s fertility starts to decline in her mid-30s. (Male fertility also declines over time, but it tends to be a much slower and more drawn-out process. The timing of this “male biological clock” also varies from one man to another.)
The bottom line is that if you’re considering a vasectomy reversal, it’s a good idea to have a detailed discussion with your urologist — especially if you’re 50 or older. Your urologist should ask you a long list of questions about your medical history. You should also come prepared with your own list of questions. Once you’ve had this conversation, you should have a better idea of your chances for a successful procedure.