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Having Babies After a Vasectomy

a blog by Jennifer A. Redmond, July 27, 2013

Here’s an interesting fact. Of the approximately half a million men who have vasectomies each year, almost 20 percent wish to have future children.

A vasectomy is considered to be a permanent form of birth control; the vas deferens from each testicle is sealed to prevent sperm from entering the ejaculate. “The frequency of vasectomy depended on multiple demographic factors, including but not limited to number of children, marital status, race-ethnicity, immigrant status, and religion,” according to a study by the Department of Urology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago IL. The study “aimed to gain better insights into the role of vasectomy in the family planning choices and attitudes of American men who have undergone the procedure.”

The study found that vasectomy is considered to be more cost-effective, less risky, and better tolerated than tubal ligation. It is also very effective in preventing pregnancies. Only 0.01% of women got pregnant five years after the procedure, compared with 0.13% for tubal ligation.

“In light of this, we were surprised to find the prevalence of tubal ligation to be 16.4 percent, almost three-fold higher than the vasectomy rate,” the study authors’ state. They conclude that, “This study reveals an opportunity to highlight the importance of preoperative counseling regarding the permanency of vasectomy and to counsel couples about the option of vasectomy vs. tubal ligation.”

So what about the 20 percent who wish to have children? Vasectomies can be reversed, but success rates for pregnancy vary. If the reversal is successful, it may take one year for pregnancy to occur, but a number of factors influence this including the amount of time between the vasectomy and the reversal, the sperm parameters after reversal and the female partner’s age. Alternatively, some urologists recommend men store sperm prior to a vasectomy.

Experts talk about vasectomy reversal in these videos:

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