Vasectomy Reversal and Sperm Extraction
As a microsurgeon specializing in vasectomy reversal, I am always surprised that couples think it’s impossible to reverse a vasectomy. Many couples have been told that vasectomy is final and sterilization is the result. This is not necessarily true. What is correct is that vasectomies are reversible and sperm can be extracted in almost all occasions.
That’s great because many men are remarrying after divorce and this new couple often wants to initiate a pregnancy and have a family. In other cases, a man who had a vasectomy due to his belief that he never wanted to have children may simply change his mind.
Given the advent of newer microsurgical techniques, most men can get a vasectomy reversed successfully. What I also recommend is that couples consider extracting sperm directly from the testicle (called testicular sperm extraction or TESE), at the same time as the reversal procedure. I call this “belts and suspenders” or insurance. This insurance is to protect against a reversal that could take longer to produce sperm than the couple wants to wait, or against a reversal that eventually proves to be unsuccessful. If sperm is extracted at the time of the vasectomy reversal procedure, the sperm is always available to the couple to use with IVF or ICSI fertility techniques. At the patient’s request, I perform a TESE at the time of the reversal procedure at no additional surgical cost. The patient only needs to arrange for storage with a sperm bank. Once sperm is extracted, it is sent to the sperm bank for storage.
For couples who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of sperm for conception, this double result increases their chances for a successful pregnancy, and provides peace of mind to many of my patients.