Vasectomy is a permanent birth control solution for men, wherein the vas deferens (sperm duct) is cut and sealed at its ends to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. Though the failure rate of this method is very low, there is a chance of a woman getting pregnant even after the man has had a vasectomy.
Here, Mom Project explains the vasectomy procedure and the chances of getting pregnant even after the procedure.
How Is Vasectomy Done In Men?
There are three ways to get a vasectomy done (1).
- Conventional vasectomy: In this method, a scalpel is used to make an incision in the scrotal skin, which is sutured after the vasectomy is done.
- No-scalpel vasectomy: It is a quick and painless procedure done in the hospital by giving general anesthesia to the patient. No-scalpel vasectomy is the most widely used method. The doctor makes a hole in the scrotum and pulls out the sperm duct, which is then tied and cut. This procedure takes 15-20 minutes and does not require any stitches.
After the procedure, the man can still ejaculate the semen, but without sperm (2). He needs to get a semen analysis done after three months of vasectomy to ensure that there is no sperm in the semen.
- Occlusion techniques: The vas is brought out by making an incision in the scrotal skin. It is then occluded using a suitable method such as ligation with sutures, division, cautery, application of clips, excision of a segment of the vas, fascial interposition, or a combination of these.
The no-scalpel vasectomy is the most preferred procedure by men. Even that method can sometimes fail and there are chances of pregnancy after vasectomy. Want to know how? Read next.
Is Pregnancy Possible After Vasectomy?
There are chances of a woman getting pregnant even after the male partner undergoes a vasectomy. Here are the reasons:
- After the vasectomy, the doctor must carry out the semen test to confirm zero sperm count. Having sex without confirming it could lead to pregnancy. For this reason, doctors advise you to use other contraceptives before the semen analysis is done.
- A failed vasectomy procedure enables the sperm to reach the penis through microscopic channels that are formed in the scar tissues of the patient, a process that is known as recanalization. A semen analysis helps in detecting these microscopic channels (3).
- Soon after the vasectomy, some sperm is still left in the semen. That is enough to impregnate a woman. A man needs to ejaculate 20-40 times after the vasectomy to get a nil count of sperm in the semen sample and should have the semen analysis done three months after the procedure.
The following section explains the success rate of pregnancy after vasectomy.
What Are The Chances Of Pregnancy After Vasectomy?
According to a survey, 177 of the 538 cases of vasectomy studied ended in pregnancies within five years after the procedure. Based on the total number of vasectomies performed by the surgeons who participated in the study, only around 1 pregnancy in 1,000 vasectomies was reported. Around 51% of pregnancies resulted from unprotected sex soon after the procedure (4). Moreover, statistics indicate that less than 1% of the vasectomies done may need to be repeated because they failed the first time (5).
If a couple decides to start a family after a vasectomy, there is still a chance to go ahead by undergoing another surgical procedure. Read on to know about that.
How To Get Pregnant After Vasectomy?
Reverse vasectomy is a procedure done to reattach the sperm ducts. This initiates the flow of sperm into the semen. If a couple decides to have children later, then a reverse vasectomy is one option. But this method is not 100% effective and may not necessarily lead to pregnancy (6).
Another alternative is to store the sperms in the sperm bank before undergoing the vasectomy procedure. This can help you have a baby even after some years.
But there are a few couples who managed to get pregnant even after vasectomy. Next, we have some such stories for you.
Stories On Pregnancy After Vasectomy
Here are two stories shared by couples, who had a failed vasectomy (7):
- Jane and her husband Dean, who live in Woking, Surrey, had two children. They decided to have no more children and went for a vasectomy. After eight months he got a clearance in the semen analysis report. It was going fine until Jane found herself to be pregnant again a few years later. This was a case of vasectomy failure and the couple decided to go ahead with the pregnancy.
- Sharon and Andy, a couple from Southbourne, Bournemouth, has four children. They decide to have a vasectomy done after their third child as Sharon had suffered from postnatal depression. They got a clean chit on the semen tests and they used alternative contraceptives to be on a safer side. One day Sharon missed her periods and got a positive pregnancy test result, which came as a shocking surprise to the couple. Later their son was born and they accepted him as God’s gift.
Next, we answer some commonly asked questions about pregnancy after vasectomy.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Which men are good candidates for a vasectomy? (8)
Men who are above 30 years and in a committed relationship can go for a vasectomy.
2. What are the complications of vasectomy?
The short-term complications include infection and bleeding. The long-term complications include post-vasectomy pain syndrome and sperm granuloma. Bleeding and hematoma occur due to an injury caused to the pampiniform venous plexus. Sperm granuloma results from the leakage of the sperm from the testicular vasal end. Post-vasectomy pain syndrome is the scrotal pain occurring after months or a year of vasectomy.
3. What are the advantages of no-scalpel vasectomy?
No-scalpel vasectomy is less painful and reduces operative complications in comparison to the traditional incisional technique. It also reduces the operation time and is thus the most sought-after technique for a vasectomy.
Vasectomy is considered a highly effective method of male sterilization. If you have decided to go for the procedure, ensure that you get the semen analysis done and use contraceptives for a few months to avoid pregnancy.