The single largest predictor of vasectomy reversal success is the length of time since the vasectomy was performed.
The success of vasectomy reversal in restoring sperm to the ejaculate can be as high as 97%. Even when men have vasectomy reversal more than 15 years after their vasectomy the success of the reversal can be 60% to 70%.
Success of vasectomy: Time is the most critical factor
The time elapsed since having a vasectomy is the most important factor in determining the success of vasectomy reversal surgery.
• Reversal less than 3 years of vasectomy, reversal success is 97%
• Reversal within 3 to 8 years of vasectomy, reversal success rate is 91%
• Reversal within 9 to 14 years of vasectomy, reversal success rate is 82%
• Reversal 14 years or more after vasectomy, reversal success rate is 69%
Why is time since vasectomy important?
When considering sterilization reversal, the passage of time is more important after vasectomy than it is after female tubal ligation. After female tubal ligation, time is important because with increased age the ability of a woman to become natural pregnant declines. After vasectomy, time is important because there can be destructive changes which occur in the epididymis which can impair sperm production.
Sperm are continually produced in the epididymis after a vasectomy and travel up the vas deferens. After a vasectomy, the sperm will be trapped in the lower portion of the vas deferens with nowhere to escape. These sperm will slowly be recycled and reabsorbed by the man’s body but this process will increase the pressure in the lower end of the vas deferens and the epididymis. This increased pressure can cause changes in the epididymis and the epididymis may become dysfunctional.
These changes after vasectomy do not happen to all men but with the passage of time these changes can become more pronounced and can decrease the success of vasectomy reversal.
The average success of restoring sperm to the ejaculate of all vasectomy reversal procedures is approximately 85%.