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Reversal of a Vasectomy: The Pros & Cons


When a man changes his mind about removing himself from the future gene pool, it is possible to get a reversal of vasectomy. This procedure is microsurgery that is meant to reattach the severed ends of a tiny tube called the vas deferens. The procedure is called a vasovasostomy, and it is an increasingly common surgery. While a vasectomy is still considered a permanent method of birth control, it no longer has to be for most men.

The Pros of Vasectomy Reversal

Among the ways to regain fertility after a vasectomy, many couples prefer a vasectomy reversal because it is generally less expensive than other methods. It is also a permanent solution and doesn't make IVF necessary. A successful vasectomy reversal means years of fertility with no other expenses necessary, unlike other methods of regaining fertility. 

The pain of the procedure is considered minor, and the surgery is not very invasive. It may take a few weeks to make a complete recovery, but men can still engage in most of their ordinary, non-strenuous activities during the recovery time. For men who have had a significant change in their lives that has spurred the wish for more children, the surgery can be an exciting experience that gives hope for a new chapter in life. Reversing the vasectomy means that the man can try to conceive a child "the old fashioned way" instead of the surgical removal of sperm that is then used in IVF. 

The Cons of Vasectomy Reversal

Though there have been many positive strides made in microsurgery over the past few years, there is still no guarantee that the reversal will work. There are many factors that go into the success of a reversal, including the exact technique used in the original procedure. If the first reversal doesn't work, some men choose to have a second reversal procedure done to increase the chances of success. This means double the cost, double the pain and double the time away from work. The longer it has been since the vasectomy was performed, the less likely it is that the reversal will be successful.

The recovery period after a reversal can be as long as five weeks. Men may be restricted in their physical activities during that period, and several days of missed work is expected. There can also be swelling and bruising of the area, and it may be necessary to use ice packs to keep down the swelling. Infections are a possible complication after the surgery. Men can't submerge themselves in water for the first few days after the procedure.

Another con is that the procedure can be extremely expensive, and it isn't covered by insurance. A vasectomy reversal can cost as much as $15,000, depending on the region and the doctor chosen. It can also be difficult to find a urologist who is skilled in the procedure. If you live in a small or medium-sized town, you may have to travel to the nearest large city to see a doctor who can perform it.

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