While reproductive issue may be a big worry for couples, birth control is another question that may baffle them. There are several methods to choose from, with each one having its own pros and cons. Pills, patches, barriers, and tubal ligation are commonly used by women. Men rely on condoms and vasectomy. Vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed as a long term contraceptive measure for males. It involves severing and tying off the vas deferens to prevent sperms from impregnating a woman.
Vasectomy is quite similar to tubal ligation in women. Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that involves cutting off the fallopian tubes as a birth control method. Both these birth control measures are permanent in nature. Though the success rate that vasectomy offers is convincing enough, there might be a problem if the couple changes their mind. Men should however know that vasectomy can be reversed in future, as circumstances may be different.
Vasectomy Reversal: Is it possible?
Vasectomy is one of the most trusted and widely used sterilization techniques for men. It is useful for those who have completed their families and do not want children any more. But in some cases, they may have to change their decision. This can be a big issue because vasectomy reversal is a complex procedure. First things first, the couple has to start by visiting an urologist. The specialist would examine the patient as well as ask all about his reproductive history. Following this the woman would be assessed to rule out any female infertility issues.
Since vasectomy is done surgically, its reversal is to be done in the same way. There are two options for the same. The doctor chooses the one depending upon the area that was originally blocked during the vasectomy procedure:
Vasovasostomy is used to reconnect both the ends of the vas deferens, which were severed during the vasectomy.
Vasoepididymostomy is a procedure that is used to connect the epididymis with the vas deferens. This one is done when the blockages in the vas deferens cannot be opened using a vasovasostomy.
The doctor will recommend the procedure which works best for a patient. Either of these would enable the couple to conceive naturally, if there are no infertility issues.
Sperm Aspiration and IVF: The Ray of Hope
Vasectomy reversal is not always possible but there is still a ray of hope. Someone who has undergone a vasectomy but is still producing healthy sperms can conceive. Such patients can resort to the advanced reproductive technique of IVF. It has to be supported with sperm aspiration from the testicles. The procedure involves gentle suction of the sperms from the testicles using a thin needle. It is done under general or local anesthesia.
After sperms have been aspirated, these are used to create an embryo in the lab with IVF. The sperms are used to fertilize the woman’s eggs and the embryo so formed is then transferred to her uterus. IVF offers an excellent success rate for women below 35 years of age. Pregnancy is possible with ICSI even is the man is producing very low quantity of sperms. However, IUI may not be feasible as the quantity of sperms aspirated may not be adequate.
Failed Vasectomy and Accidental Pregnancy
Vasectomy is a highly successful method of birth control, with failure rate being as low as 1 in a 1000 couples. Though the chances of failure are extremely low, a remote possibility of accidental pregnancy is still there. Therefore, it is advisable to use a second line of defense till a zero sperm count test is confirmed after pregnancy. If the female partners experienced pregnancy symptoms post vasectomy, a pregnancy test needs to be taken.
Here are some rarest possibilities of freak pregnancies that can happen after vasectomy:
- A couple may end up pregnant just after vasectomy if they have unprotected sex. A man is deemed to be fully sterile only a month after the operation. The success of vasectomy is confirmed only after a zero sperm analysis. Therefore, it is better to use an alternate contraceptive measure till the test is done.
- A failed vasectomy is another reason of unplanned pregnancy. The success of the procedure depends entirely on the expertise of the urologist. Choosing a skilled one is significant in this regard.
- Another possibility of pregnancy taking place despite this method of birth control is that of recanalization. This is a condition when the sperm finds its way out of the vas deferens because they get connected via microscopic channels. It usually happens due to formation of scar tissue some years after the vasectomy. Recanalization happens in the rarest of the rare cases.
Men whom opt for vasectomy for permanent birth control need to understand that it does not come with a 100% guarantee. The chances of unplanned pregnancy are there, however rare these may be. At the same time, it is also possible to reverse the procedure so that conception is possible if there is need.
Gaudium IVF is a reputed IVF clinic in Delhi where patients can avail quality care at affordable cost. The clinic offers advanced assisted reproductive techniques and gynecological care along with counseling support.
Visit here for a free second opinion from Dr. Manika Khanna, the award-winning Best IVF specialist in Delhi.