can a vasectomy be reversedYes, very simply. A vasectomy can be reversed. Every day, we receive many enquiries from men who have had a vasectomy, keen to father a child again, and their first question is always “can a vasectomy be reversed?”.

They are often surprised as many GPs still hold the belief that a vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception. Sadly for us, many people visit their GP asking advice and are very upset to hear that there is no solution. It is only when they start to explore online, that they often find out otherwise. Perhaps you had this same experience.

Once online, however, there is considerable conflicting information. Initially, people tend to look at the NHS website which quotes abysmal rates of success and this does tend to put many people off. Again, this is very upsetting for us because what the NHS website doesn’t say, is that when the NHS did perform vasectomy reversal surgery (which they no longer do), it was generally junior staff who performed the procedure (therefore a limited amount of skill) and without a microscope thereby dramatically reducing the chances of a successful outcome.

We know that this procedure requires a high level of skill, consistent experience and a high powered microscope at all times.

Having asked, can a vasectomy be reversed, the next question relates to the method of vasectomy. We have been asked about many different methods:

  • non-scalpel
  • laser
  • cauterised
  • tied
  • stapled
  • took a “chunk” out
  • stitched
  • or a combination of any of these.

And our answer to all of them, is that these can all be reversed by Mr Harriss with high success rates. The only method that cannot be reversed at all, very sadly, is when someone opted to have a vasectomy AT THE SAME TIME as having a hernia repair. i.e during the same operation. The technique used means that there is no way of rejoining the vas deferens on that side.

After “can a vasectomy be reversed” is “can it reverse itself?”.

This is a very interesting question as there was time when it could. There is a group of people alive today who are all products of a failed vasectomy. Initially, the procedure just asked that the surgeon cut the vas deferens in two. A snip, thus the common name for a vasectomy. However, it soon became clear that this wasn’t effective as couples were becoming pregnant and the litigation associated with this was rapidly rising. It was then decided, world wide, that the procedure would change from a “snip” to a more substantial procedure. This was required because it was clear that due to nature’s desire to heal itself, the two ends of the vas deferens (possibly only on one side) were finding their way back to each other and rejoining of their own accord. This was sufficient for a man to become fertile again.

It was then decided to cut the vas deferens and remove a small segment (often around 2-3cm) and tie, staple, cauterise or stitch either end to stop the possibility that the ends could rejoin. There is enough vas deferens remaining for this small amount to not be a factor for Mr Harriss.

If the vasectomy, took place any time in the last 40 years, at least, then this will be the standard method used.

How can a vasectomy be reversed in that case?

Mr Harriss uses his skill as a urological surgeon to dissect the parts of the vas deferens that have been damaged by the vasectomy, and rejoins them using a single layer procedure with excellent results.

If you have any questions about your method of vasectomy, or are concerned about people telling you that a reversal is just not possible, please contact us for advice and information. You will then have the true facts to be able to make your own decision.

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