Vasectomy reversals
Can your partner get his fertility back after having a vasectomy? 
(Jupiter Images )

The reason men go for vasectomies is to make sure that their partner will not fall pregnant. However, making the decision to never have children is an extreme one to make, and as the saying goes, you should never say never. Luckily, the vasectomy procedure can possibly be reversed down the line. We say “possibly”, because the reversal procedure does not have a 100 percent success rate.

A vasectomy is the procedure that ties off and cuts a small section out of your partner’s tubes that carry his sperm to his testicles, known as the vas deferens. This does not mean that he will no longer have any seminal fluid, just that the sperm cannot enter the  fluid, and it gets reabsorbed by his body instead.

A reversal of a vasectomy is done to put things back into working order. The procedure will reconnect the vas deferens so that the sperm will enter the seminal fluid again, and egg fertilisation can occur.

How it is done

The actual reversal procedure is not as simple as this. The urologist will make a small incision through the skin of the scrotum above each testicle. The doctor will then ­find the site of the vasectomy, and remove the previously ‘tied off’ ends of the vas deferens.

Once this is done, the doctor will check the condition of the epididymis. The epididymis is made up of a single small tube that is rolled many times onto itself. The epididymal tube gradually enlarges and eventually leads to the vas deferens. The condition of the epididymis can be deteriorated, because after a vasectomy, sperm that is produced and no longer able to be carried away by the vas deferens, builds up pressure in the epididymis and can cause damage to it. If the epididymis is damaged, there is little point restoring the vas deferens, as the sperm will not be able to travel out of the testicles into the vas deferens. The more time that has passed after the vasectomy, the more pressure build up and the higher likelihood of damage.

If there is no damage to the epididymis, then the vas deferens will be sutured together using one stitch each. Once the reversal has occurred, pregnancy is not a guarantee – it is dependent on all the elements that usually dictate whether couples are successful at conceiving.

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