Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
While the best thing about a vasectomy is that it is permanent in almost every individual that gets the procedure, couples sometimes choose to reverse a vasectomy. In the United States, approximately 600,000 men per year have a vasectomy. Up to 5% later choose to reverse it. This reversal procedure is not guaranteed to restore fertility and is usually not covered by insurance.
Reasons for vasectomy reversal include the following:
A joint decision by the couple to have another child
Death of a child
The success of a reversal is measured in two separate ways: the ability to open the vas channel and the ability to deliver effective sperm. Delivering sperm, while the most important, is affected by the period of blockage upon the testicles. As an alternative to seeking a reversal later, some men freeze and store sperm at a sperm bank before their vasectomy in case they later choose to have a child.
Table 3. Success Rates After Vasectomy Reversal*
Years Since the Vasectomy
Chance of Rebuilding an Open Vas Channel
Chance of Pregnancy
Less than three years
Three to eight years
Nine to 14 years
Greater than 15 years
*From a study of more than 1,000 patients by the Vasectomy Reversal Study Group
A vasectomy is a choice only a man can make, preferably with the support of his partner. While it is safe and simple, the permanent nature of the procedure requires careful consideration. By choosing this nearly 100%-effective procedure, a man can control the size of the family without placing his partner at increased risk. For more information about vasectomies, contact your doctor and visit vasectomy.md.