• January 23, 2024
  • Dr Luke Wee

Last updated on April 5, 2024

Vasectomy, a popular method of permanent birth control, has long been chosen by men worldwide. Despite the fact it is considered “permanent”, the question often arises: Is a vasectomy reversible?

The Cooper Clinic has your answers! Let’s talk about a vasectomy reversal procedure, the factors influencing its success, and what you can expect during recovery.

is a vasectomy reversible

There are many reasons people may want to reverse male infertility, or vasectomy. If you are having second thoughts reach out to The Cooper Clinic and we can help.

Understanding the vasectomy reversal procedure

A vasectomy reversal reconnects or unblocks the ends of the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm that were cut during your previous vasectomy). It is an intricate microsurgery and requires significant expertise to perform successfully.

A vasectomy reversal surgery consists of the following:

Duration: The operation is conducted under general anaesthetic, typically lasting between one to one and a half hours.

Incisions: Typically, the surgeon makes two 3-centimetre incisions on each side of the scrotum.

Surgery: The surgeon examines each testicle, locates the vas deferens tubes, and removes any scar tissue. A surgical microscope is then used to visualise and meticulously stitch the ends of the tubes back together.

Factors affecting the reversibility of vasectomies

A successful vasectomy reversal depends on several factors:

  • Time since vasectomy: The longer the time since the vasectomy, the lower the chances of a successful reversal, especially after 10 to 15 years
  • Age and health: The patient’s age and overall health can impact the procedure’s success
  • Type of vasectomy: The initial vasectomy technique might affect the reversal’s success (i.e a traditional or a no-scalpel vasectomy).
  • Degree of damage: During the initial vasectomy some damage to the vas deferens is to be expected. This can impact vasectomy reversals and how successful it is

is a vasectomy reversible

There are many factors that may impact if vasectomies can be reversed successfully. Your doctor will discuss these with you in detail before any decisions are made.

Success rates of vasectomy reversal

Success rates vary, but data shows that vasectomy reversals can have success rates ranging from 30% to 90%, depending on various factors (such as those listed above). It’s important to note that success is measured not just by reconnection of the ends of the vas deferens but also by the return of viable sperm in the semen and the ability to achieve pregnancy.

Why choose to have a vasectomy reversal?

People choose to have a vasectomy reversal for various personal and life-changing reasons, including:

Change in family planning goals: One of the most common reasons for a vasectomy reversal is a change in personal or family circumstances. This could be due to a new female partner or marriage, where the couple decides they want to have more children together.

Loss of a child: Following the tragic event of losing a child, some men may seek a vasectomy reversal in the hope of having more children as a way to rebuild or extend their family.

Regret or change of mind: Over time, some men may simply change their minds about their decision to not have more children. Their life perspective or feelings about fatherhood might evolve, leading them to reconsider their choice.

Each individual’s reasons for considering a vasectomy reversal are unique and deeply personal, often involving complex emotional and life circumstances. If this sounds like you, please reach out to the friendly team at The Cooper Clinic. We can help you work through your options and make a decision that is right for you and your circumstances.

There are many reasons people choose to have their vasectomy reversed, such as a change in relationship or family goals.

<em>There are many reasons people choose to have their vasectomy reversed, such as a change in relationship or family goals.</em>

There are many reasons people choose to have their vasectomy reversed, such as a change in relationship or family goals.

There are many reasons people choose to have their vasectomy reversed, such as a change in relationship or family goals.

is a vasectomy reversible

There are many reasons people choose to have their vasectomy reversed, such as a change in relationship or family goals.

Vasectomy reversal recovery

Recovery from a vasectomy reversal typically involves a short period of rest and limiting physical activity. Following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions and advice is also vital for a smooth recovery.

  • You’ll need to wear tight-fitting underwear and use ice for 24 to 48 hours to minimise any painful swelling or discomfort.
  • For the first 48 hours post-surgery, avoid bathing or swimming that could wet the surgical site
  • Refrain from activities like running, contact sports, biking, or heavy lifting for several weeks after surgery to prevent pulling on the testicles or scrotum
  • If you have a desk job, you may return a few days post-surgery. Consult your doctor about returning to physically demanding jobs such as labouring
  • Avoid sexual intercourse and ejaculation until your doctor gives the go-ahead

Are vasectomies reversible: weighing your options

Patients should have realistic expectations regarding vasectomy reversal. While modern surgical techniques offer hope, not all reversals are successful. In cases where reversal isn’t an option or doesn’t succeed, alternatives such as assisted in vitro fertilisation (IVF) may be explored.

Consulting with a medical professional, such as one of our doctors at The Cooper Clinic, ensures you receive personalised advice tailored to your specific situation. Remember, each case is unique, and professional guidance is key to navigating your options post-vasectomy.


How successful is a vasectomy reversal?

The success of a vasectomy reversal can vary widely but generally ranges between 40% to over 90%. The definition of ‘success’ typically includes the return of healthy sperm to the semen and if pregnancy occurs. Success rates are influenced by factors such as:

  • Time since the vasectomy
  • Surgical technique used for the original vasectomy
  • Expertise of the surgeon
  • If the ends of the vas deferens can be successfully reconnected

How often do doctors do vasectomy reversals?

Vasectomy reversals are less common than vasectomies but are still regularly performed by specialised surgeons, particularly urologists with expertise in microsurgery. The frequency of these procedures varies depending on the demand and the specific practice of the surgeon or medical centre.

Where does sperm go after vasectomy?

After a vasectomy, sperm continues to be produced by the testicles but can no longer travel through the vas deferens to become part of the ejaculate. Instead, the body naturally reabsorbs the sperm. This process is harmless and does not affect the production of male hormones or the ability to have a normal sexual function.

How reversible are vasectomies after 10 years?

Vasectomies can be reversed even after 10 years, but the success rate tends to decrease over time. While reversals are possible and can be successful after this period, the chances of restoring fertility are a lot less. Other factors such as sperm count and the patient’s partner’s age and fertility status also play a role in the success of the reversal.

Dr Luke Wee

About The Author

Dr Luke Wee

Meet Luke, our very own vasman. NZ men benefit from his hands-on experience in performing nearly 3,000 vasectomies! Luke has a special interest in men’s health and vasectomy procedures. He’s a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, a member of the Association of Surgeons in Primary Care and an international vasectomy peer group. Luke keeps his thumb on the pulse and consistently updates his skills and knowledge by attending national and international conferences.

Ask Us a Question

Have a query about vasectomies or family planning? Our dedicated team is here to help! Drop us a line with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the procedure, recovery, or any other aspect of vasectomy. We’re committed to providing informative and personalised answers to support your decision-making process.

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