Vasectomy Success Rates: Ensuring Your Best Chance for Success
How reliable is a vasectomy?
When a man gets a vasectomy, two tubes called the vas deferens are cut or blocked. This has the result of keeping sperm out of your semen. After a vasectomy, sperm cells stay in your testicles and are absorbed by your body. There’s no effect on hormone levels, sexual pleasure, or a man’s ability to ejaculate or stay erect. So what about vasectomy success rates?
Sounds pretty foolproof, right? Facts on vasectomy success rates.
The truth is, although vasectomies are considered permanent and reliable, they’re not 100% effective. About one in every 2,000 vasectomies is unsuccessful … which means that in that one out of 2,000 cases, a man who’s had a vasectomy will get a woman pregnant.
Overall, vasectomy is more reliable than tubal ligation, which is the comparable surgery that a woman can have. On the other hand, you probably don’t want to be that one guy in 2,000.
How can pregnancy occur after a vasectomy?
There are a few ways that a pregnancy can occur after a vasectomy. The most common one is when the man has unprotected sex too soon after the procedure, before all of the sperm has been cleared out of his system. This is why men are told to use another form of birth control for three months and at least 15-20 ejaculations after a vasectomy.
Another way that a vasectomy can fail is if sperm crosses the void between the separated ends of the vas deferens, or if the cut ends of the vas deferens get reconnected over time. These scenarios are extremely rare, but they are possible. Finally, it’s possible that the procedure was done improperly.
How do you reduce the chances of pregnancy after a vasectomy?
To avoid any unwanted surprises, it’s important for a man to have a sperm test before having unprotected sex. This is the best way to check that a vasectomy was successful. My vasectomy patients undergo semen analysis after the surgery at 6 weeks. If sperm remains in the sample, my patients will continue periodic semen analysis until the sample is clear of all sperm.