Vasectomy Reversal vs IVF
This won’t sound like a message of hope at first, but bear with me: we all have regrets. Fortunately, if you’ve changed your mind about fathering children even after you’ve had a vasectomy, you and your partner have options, including a vasectomy reversal and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).
Note that vasectomies should be considered a permanent procedure and thought about with careful consideration. But they are reversible. In fact, approximately three to six percent of men later seek a vasectomy reversal.
Reviewing the Basics of Vasectomy Reversal
There are two types of vasectomy reversal procedures. During the operation, we’ll determine which process will be the most effective:
First, is the more typical. A vasovasostomy is a literal reversal of the vasectomy, untying the knots that were tied. With a vasovasostomy, the ends of the vas deferens that were cut (you have two, they were both cut) are reconnected.
Sometimes blockages occur after the healing process from a vasectomy. If the vasovasostomy is impossible because of a blockage, we perform the second option: a vasoepididymostomy. Your sperm matures in a coiled series of ducts called the epididymis. This will be directly connected to the vas deferens if a blockage is found.
Either type of reversal has a likelihood of success, meaning that sperm has returned in the semen. The point here is that there are different options depending on your specific situation.
But this isn’t just about vasectomy reversal. A reversed vasectomy, whatever the method, is someone’s search for a new start to their reproductive life. It’s not the only way, however, and it’s worth comparing to IVF (in vitro fertilization), an option with a very similar success rate and one that won’t require a reversal of the vasectomy.
Reviewing the Basics of IVF
IVF can be used to treat a number of infertility issues for women who have blocked/damaged fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders and other infertility conditions. In some cases, IVF is also considered as a primary treatment for infertility in women who are over age 40.
To undergo IVF, a women’s mature eggs are retrieved and manually combined with a man’s sperm sample in a laboratory dish. If it is a success and the eggs become fertilized, the embryo is then transferred into the uterus where it will implant in the uterus lining about six to ten days after the egg retrieval.
Breaking Down Vasectomy Reversal. vs. IVF
Here’s a quick comparison so you can think through some of the benefits and disadvantages to both procedures:
- Addresses concerns of female and male infertility
- Faster on average
- Allows for gender selection and genetic testing of the embryos
- More expensive
- The more invasive of the two procedures
- Increased chance of twins (25% rather than a typical average of 2%)
- Most couples will have to go through more than one IVF cycle to conceive
- Less Expensive
- Only one procedure is necessary for multiple pregnancies
- A very low-stress procedure
- Typically takes longer than IVF to conceive (up to 1 year, sometimes more)
- Not a fix for infertility issues
Which is the Right Option?
Deciding on which procedure is the best for your situation depends on you and your partner. The first thing to do is ask yourselves some important questions:
- How much can you afford to spend for a procedure like this?
- How quickly is a pregnancy desired?
- How many children do you and your partner want?
- How old are you?
- (This one is important for both men and women but it is especially important for women and will affect the questions above.)
- And, ultimately, what decision are you most comfortable with?
Discuss these questions and consult with your doctor. After the simple removal of sperm from your testicles, the sperm can be used in an IVF procedure. IVF is safe, proven, and successful and it can be much faster than a vasectomy reversal if time is a concern. However, IVF can be expensive.
The bottom line is that vasectomy reversal has high success rates, no matter how long it’s been since your vasectomy, but there are other options to consider, such as IVF. It is up to you and your partner to decide which fertility treatment plan is best.
If you’re contemplating a vasectomy reversal in New York, please contact Dr. Harry Fisch for a vasectomy reversal consultation.