Common Vasectomy Questions and Concerns

October 6, 2014

Despite being a fairly common and simple procedure, there’s a lot of misinformation about vasectomies floating around. If you’re fuzzy on the details, this Q&A clears up some common misconceptions.

If I get a vasectomy now can it be reversed?

A vasectomy may technically be reversed, however the success rate of a reversal is about 50%. During a vasectomy, the vas deferens tube is cut. In order for a reversal to be success the tube needs to be reconnected and also be patent enough for sperm to travel through it. Vasectomy reversals are surgical procedures in the operating room involving microsurgery, whereas a vasectomy is typically a 15 minute office procedure.

Is there a length of time where you should get it reversed (ex: 6 years) if you want the reversal to be effective?

The optimal time for vasectomy reversal is usually 2 years after the vasectomy. Even during the first 2 years, the success rate is about 50%.

After Vasectomy, Where Does The Sperm Go? 

This is a question we get a lot, and there actually is a scientific answer! After a vasectomy, sperm are still produced. A vasectomy essentially “shuts the door” that is the Vas Deferens, which allows the sperm to travel out of the body. So if the sperm no longer come out and are absorbed in the body, what happens when ejaculating? Ejaculate (semen) is a combination of seminal fluid, made in the prostate gland, and seminal vesicles AND sperm. After a successful vasectomy, sperm is still produced in your body, but it is no longer a part of the ejaculate equation.

If it’s not reversible, what are the options as far as using a sperm bank before my vasectomy and do a lot of people do it?

Sperm banking may be completed prior to the vasectomy. This involves freezing a sample of sperm that is stored at a specialized sperm- or cryo-banking center. We advise patients to look at vasectomy as a permanent procedure; however it may be reversed with a success rate of 50%.

What do I need to know when planning a vasectomy?

1. Decide that you have completed your family – this is an important one!

We provide a consultation prior to the procedure. This may be done on separate day or on the same day as your vasectomy.

2. Understand that this procedure is considered permanent, and that the success rate of a reversal is about 50%.

3. The vasectomy itself is about a 15 minute long procedure.

The procedure is usually completed with a local anesthetic in the clinic. We do offer patients the option of taking a medication for anxiety prior to the vasectomy, as well as something for pain afterwards.

At Austin Urology Institute, we use titanium clips to complete the vasectomy. Other methods include suturing or cautery.

4. You will be asked to refrain from physical activity including heavy lifting/straining, exercise, cycling, swimming, and intercourse for 1-2 weeks.