How Likely Is Pregnancy After Vasectomy?

Semen is produced in the testes, which are contained in the scrotum.
Couples should use a back-up method of pregnancy prevention for three to six months following a vasectomy.
Sperm can still be present for up to 20 ejaculations after a vasectomy.
A vasectomy is a minor surgery performed with a scalpel.
Article Details
  • Written By: J.S. Metzker Erdemir
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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A vasectomy is a surgical procedure used to prevent pregnancy. The procedure is performed on men, and the chances of a pregnancy after vasectomy are quite slim. Vasectomy is generally considered to be 99 perecent effective, with the likelihood of conception decreasing with time following the surgery.

A vasectomy is a minor outpatient procedure that usually lasts less than 30 minutes, and it can be performed by a urologist or a family practitioner in the doctor's office. The surgery can be done with a scalpel or laser. Using a local anesthetic, the doctor makes a small incision or puncture in the side of the scrotum. The vas deferens, which is the tube that carries the sperm, is removed and cut, and the two ends of the cut tube are clamped or cauterized. A few stitches might be required for a scalpel surgery, but laser surgery usually does not require stitches.

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After the the vas deferens are cut, sperm cannot enter semen, which makes it almost impossible for pregnancy after vasectomy to occur. In the months following the surgery, the doctor examines semen samples under a microscope to check for viable sperm. This is because it is possible for sperm to continue living in the vas deferens following the surgery. Couples are generally advised to use a backup method of birth control for three to six months after the procedure. The 1 percent risk of pregnancy after having a vasectomy is usually due to patients skipping the follow-up visits and failing to use other contraceptive methods.

In very rare cases, the cut ends of the vas deferens can grow back together after a vasectomy. This is called recanalization, and it may happen because sperm cells and white blood cells remain on the scar tissue of the vas deferens, allowing it to grow back. Recanalization is more likely to occur in the months following the procedure, but it can also happen spontaneously several years later. Although recanalization only occurs in one of every 2,000 patients, pregnancy after vasectomy is possible if viable sperm are able to enter the semen.

Some men who have had a vasectomy might later change their minds about wanting to conceive. In these cases, a doctor usually can reverse the vasectomy. A vasectomy does not stop sperm production; it just prevents sperm from entering the semen. Following this reversal surgery, the average chance of pregnancy after vasectomy is around 65 percent, although these rates fluctuate depending on the age of the couple and how much time passed since the initial procedure.

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anon931795
Post 8

I just found out I am pregnant after my husband had a vasectomy in November 2013. His first sample was clear but we didn't go back for a second sample and now I am five weeks pregnant with our fourth child. It's really hard to comprehend this happening after surgery. Like most people, I thought after one clear sample, there is no chance of pregnancy.

anon327261
Post 6

I had a vasectomy and reversed it after five years in October 2012. What is the chance of getting a woman pregnant after recanalization? I haven't had a sperm count yet. Does the zeptol cr 300 affect the egg's ability to be fertilized? I've been using this tablet twice a day since January 2008. I'm now 35 years old and my wife is 32.

Could you please advise me?

drtroubles
Post 5

@Sara007 - I had a vasectomy after pregnancy with our first child as we decided that one child was enough for us. After thinking it over for a few years we started to look at the possibility of pregnancy after vasectomy and eventually had the procedure reversed.

For my wife and I it took us just under a year to conceive another child as everything was in good working order after the procedure was reversed. I suppose it all comes down to your own fertility. Our doctor told us we were both healthy and nature had to take its course. You can always do fertility treatments if something goes wrong, but hopefully you won't have any issues getting your family back on track.

Sara007
Post 4

How long do you think it would take to achieve pregnancy after vasectomy reversal?

My husband and I have wonderful kids but we want to try for another child even though a few years back we decided to stop. It has become apparent to us that we would love to add another child to our family and are regretting getting the vasectomy done even though it did its job.

I am hoping that I won't have to wait pregnancy until years after the vasectomy has been reversed. We have a good income and plenty of room in our home and lives for a new baby. We're hoping that we could conceive within a year if we get everything swimming again as it were.

fify
Post 3

@burcinc-- That's sweet! I guess you were meant to have that baby girl!

My cousin also got pregnant after a vasectomy. I've actually heard of people getting pregnant within the year after the surgery, but my cousin got pregnant two and a half years later. I'm sure you can imagine how shocked they were.

I feel that the percentage of failure of a vasectomy is higher than 1%. I mean most people are told that they are safe after three months of the surgery which doesn't seem like enough time. But one year seems like plenty of time and I cannot understand how someone can get pregnant after two years?!

I wonder if their vasectomy was not done correctly in the first place? There is only one way to do a vasectomy right? What are the chances of something going wrong during surgery and increasing chances of pregnancy?

burcinc
Post 2

@anamur-- Yes, the same thing happened to us. I had the vasectomy and my wife was pregnant 9 months later. We went for checkups 3 months and 6 months post vasectomy and the doctor said that there were no swimmers. Meaning that no sperm was entering the semen. So my wife and I assumed that we were all safe and stopped using contraceptives altogether and then we got pregnant.

I would never ask my wife for a paternity test but when we went to see my doctor after the pregnancy, he asked my wife if the father could be someone else. It was a horrible thing to answer but the doctor was also surprised as he had never seen it happen with his other patients. Anyway, he checked again and saw that there were swimmers getting into the semen and I had the vasectomy done for a second time.

Apparently, it's best to continue using a contraceptive for at least a year after a vasectomy and to get checked out for swimmers every three months. I guess we just got lucky but we don't regret it. We have a new addition to our family, a beautiful baby girl after two boys. But still, I hope this doesn't happen again!

serenesurface
Post 1

My best friend's husband got a vasectomy and they also went for check-ups later to make sure that everything was fine. Close to a year after the surgery she got pregnant and her husband actually asked her for a paternity test. This really hurt their relationship and they did have the baby and patch up later. But it made me wonder, how often this happens and how many relationships suffer because of it.

I think we don't know enough about vasectomies. I didn't know that tubes could grow back later until I read this article for example. There seems to be an assumption that a vasectomy is 100% effective and starts working right away. But this is clearly not true.

Has anyone else gotten pregnant after a vasectomy? What did you do?

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