The purpose of a vasectomy is to serve as a permanent method of family planning by men. But due to life issues, a man may have a change of heart and opt for a reversal. The first recorded reversal procedure was in 1938 (1). 

After four years of a vasectomy, a man had become depressed, occasioning a reversal that was deemed successful.  He fathered two children afterward.

Apart from depression, other factors like a new spouse and the death of children resulting in 6-10% of the vasectomy patients requiring a reversal (2).

Below are Some of the Reasons a Vasectomy Reversal May Fail

The Urologist’s Surgical Skills

One of the essential elements of the reversal procedure is the urologist performing the procedure. If a urologist lacks the skill and expertise to perform, the outcome can be a failed vasectomy reversal.  

When conducting a reversal procedure, a urologist needs to notice any issue that may affect the procedure’s success. When selecting a urologist, always make proper considerations to avoid vasectomy reversal failure due to a doctor’s lack of skill.

Fertility Issues Before Vasectomy

Before and after a vasectomy, it matters if you have fertility problems, including low sperm count and unhealthy sperm. If a man had never sired a child before vasectomy, it could be that his sperm is abnormal and cannot fertilize an egg. It is a major contributor to vasectomy reversal failure.

Development of Scar Tissue

On some occasions, scar tissue might develop at the connection point of the vas. It causes a barrier and makes the sperm fail to travel out, resulting in a lack of pregnancy. It is treatable with a repeat vasectomy reversal procedure or anti-inflammatory medication.

Complications During the Reversal Procedure

Any procedure can raise complications due to the factors discussed above. Proper handling of these complications during and after the procedure contributes to the reversal procedure’s overall success. Also, performing a vasovasostomy when a vasoepididymostomy is required will result in a failed reversal procedure.

It Takes Two to Tango

To make a woman pregnant, she must be able to get pregnant. There are cases where a reversal is successful, but conception fails to occur. Before undergoing a reversal procedure, evaluation of your female partner for possible fertility issues. 

The primary reason for a vasectomy reversal is to impregnate a partner. So, her ability to get pregnant indirectly relates to the success rate of a vasectomy reversal.  

General Things to Note on Vasectomy Reversal Failure 

The success rate of reversal procedures is relatively high when a man has no reproductive health issues. The points discussed above are just some of the problems that may cause a reversal procedure to fail. 

The Vasal Obstruction Period does not seem to impact a reversal success rate as the sperm granuloma (3). When you had a vasectomy performed within seven years of a reversal, your chances of regaining fertility are higher. During a vasectomy procedure, if the doctor removed a large portion of the vas, it poses difficulties with the reversal, sometimes causing the procedure to fail.


Links to sources used

  1. History of Vasectomy,went%20on%20to%20father%20children
  2. Vasectomy Reversal: 5 Facts Men Need to Know
  3. The Vasal Obstruction Period The Impact of Obstructive Interval and Sperm Granuloma on Outcome of Vasectomy Reversal