How easy is it to reverse a vasectomy?

Or, for that matter, how easy would it be to reverse getting my tubes tied? (I don’t know the medical term for that…)

I’m terrified of getting pregnant. And even though I use three different types of birth control (Well, maybe just two. Condoms with spermicide and the pill), I still get paranoid and frightened at the end of every month…if my period is even an hour late I freak out!
I can’t continue to live like this. I just cannot. Some people are happy to have children…but for me having a child would be the worse possible thing that could happen in my life. I guess you can say I’m childphobic!

So, I decided to ask my husband if he would get a vasectomy. I promised him it would be reversible, in case we ever want to have kids. But then I heard somewhere that it’s not easily reversible. Now, I doubt the day will ever come that I want to have kids, but I don’t want to have him do something that he really doesn’t want to do, under false pretenses.
He’ll agree to go thourgh with it if it’s reversible. If not, then no-go.
So, I guess that’s my question.

I’m curious too. I would like to have one as the wife and I don’t want kids… but who knows in 5 or so years.

Pepperlandgirl, don’t mean to totally freak you out, but I have heard of a couple of cases of women getting pregnant after their hubby got snipped. Granted, I am sure they’re few and far between…

I’ve got a buddy at work who got his vasectomy reversed. He told me it was much more painful than the original operation. Of course, that’s just his opinion.

Well, if we had the surgery done, I would stay on the Pill. (I have medical reasons for being on the Pill besides the birth control aspect). I would just feel much, much better.

I think most physicians say not to count on the reversability of the procedure. (either)

The procedure is intended to be permanent. How permanent is subject to some debate, not all of it informed. My own urologist told me not to make plans including reversal. From the information he gave me the reverse surgery is more complicated, more risky, and much less reliable than the original procedure. Fifty percent success rates, at the time he was advising me. (Twelve years ago, so things may have changed.)

He further pointed out that there were factors in the original procedure that mattered a lot in the success rate of the reversal. Those factors were not usually considered in the original surgery, and including them was a non-trivial factor in the time, cost, and reliability of the original vasectomy.

Anecdotes are a poor source of Medical advice. Consult a surgeon. Consult two.


“It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.” ~ Albert Einstein ~
“You should see the place where Einstein used to drink!” ~ Triskadecamus ~

IANAD. However, neither procedure is 100% reversible. Vasectomy is easier to get done in the first place, but I’ve heard that it is not as reversible as ligation, though my cites are not 100% clear on this. Note that you also do not need to reverse ligation to have children, as in-vitro fertilization can be used on a woman with tubal ligation.

If you are the one who wants to avoid children, and he wants them or at least is less childphobic, then I’d be concerned if he ended up being the one sterilized. What if you get hit by a bus tomorrow, and in the fullness of time he falls in love with another? I’d rather that the person who wants to avoid children have the procedure. In other words, it’s your phobia, so you should get the procedure.

However, tubal ligation is more complex than vasectomy. It’s way easier to get a vasectomy for a guy, because his equipment is right there, ready to be snipped. So, I hesitate to suggest you go in for surgery when he could just go in to have his nails clipped, so to speak.

I guess you’ll have to balance out all these questions and more:
[ul][li]Who wants to avoid children more?[/li][li]Who would be more devastated by being sterile permanently?[/li][li]What happens in the unlikely event you end up not living to a ripe old age together (death, divorce…)?[/li][li]What are the comparative risks for the procedures? Again, IANAD, so you need to check. You or your husband’s physical condition may have a bearing on whether you should even be thinking about this or not, see your doctor to know for sure.[/li][li]What are the comparative costs of the procedures, is either one covered by insurance?[/li][li]Is reversal of either procedure covered by insurance?[/li][/ul]

Phew. Kudos for being concerned enough to research this and not just march hubby off to the barber shop. Now, make sure you research it with a real doctor too. :slight_smile:

And now, some cites.

From Columbia University Urology:

As for tubal ligation, from iVillage:

Looks like ligation might be a bit more reversable, but beyond that you don’t have to reverse ligation to have children.

Good luck!

I had a vasectomy 4 or 5 years ago. I was told that reversal was about 70% INeffective.
Not because of the mechanical difficulty of reconnecting the plumbing, but because my immune system would have identified my own sperm as foreign invaders and would attack them.

Apparently, after the original surgery, sperm are zipping around in the body cavity where they are not recognized. The body develops defenses, which later hinders sperm production (or survival).

This all sounds a little iffy to me, but it’s what I was told. Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me because I already was sure I didn’t want children.

This is an excellent point, one I hadn’t fully considered. He does want to have children eventually, and I guess it would be rather selfish of me to render him sterile…but on the other hand, it probably would be more dificult and expensive for ligation.

I am going to be going to my ob/gyn next week for a check-up, I’ll ask her for information. In the meantime though, I wouldn’t mind more evidence…anecdotal or otherwise

Thanks for not taking that as an insult, PLG. As I said, you’ve got a lot of thinking to do, and in the end this can only be a decision that you and your husband arrive at together. In the end, it could be that the simpler vasectomy is the right choice for you two - just make sure you arrive at that choice through conscious, informed thought.

Good luck!

Call me crazy, but couldnt you freeze some sperm, get him snipped and then someday, if you wanted to, ummmmm hatch them?

I think freezing sperm is really expensive, but I’m not sure.

But also, couldn’t you do the same thing with eggs?

And, if a man has a vasectomy or a woman has a ligation, do they stop producing spem and eggs, or does the procedure just stop the transfer of sperm and eggs to the “point of fertilization”?

biggest difference 'tween freezing eggs and freezing sperm is easy of collection.

Collecting sperm is well, handy.

Collecting viable eggs involves a whole lot more.

Pepperlangirl, I am in a similar situation to you. My husband is prepared to have a vasectomy, even though it’s me that is adamantly opposed to having children. To follow our train of thought, it’s much cheaper, less males than females (we don’t know our own minds, obviously, and will change our minds and suddenly want children, after all ALL women do :()

But on the flip side, what if we divorced, or I died ? I don’t want to leave that legacy for my husband, should that happen.

We are thinking that since a doctor probably wouldn’t perform a sterilisation on me until I’m at least 30 (and hopefully then, too) we will spend the intervening time saving for the procedure, and have it done on me. This is the decision we seem to be slowly arriving at. But that decision is personal, I just thought I’d add our view in, in case it helped. Once you’ve done all the research, and decided which procedure is best for you both, then you have to find a dotor who is prepared to do it… not an easy task.

The only advice I can offer, is to not go into this considering the reversability at all. Only do this if the person who is undergoing the procedure is 100% happy to NEVER, EVER have children. That is the only person who should have the procedure done. And BTW, if you mention too much interest in the reversability rate, doctors will be less inclined to believe you that you seriously want this permanent surgery done.

There are a whole bunch of people at thisboard (click on Bratpage Discussion) who have been snipped, both male and female, with different procedures, too. Once you’ve decided who and what you want done, they are a good resource for anecdotal info. All the best.

oh, and this site says that the vasectomy reversal success rate is about 75 %

But I would strongly advise possible reversal rates to have no role on the decision-making process to be sterilised… YMMV

Good luck :slight_smile:

Are you somehow contraindicated for Depo/Depro(sp?)-Provera, norplant or one of the other long term birth control methods? I know a couple women who do those shots because It costs them $15 every 3 months and they no longer have a period. One of them even commented how it was cheaper to get the shots than buy pads and or tampons, plus she couldn’t get pregnant. I would hate to think what all this paranoia is doing to your sex life.

Have you asked, and your doctor refused, to give you a ligation until you were “older” or “more mature”?

I asked for a vasectomy at 25, and was kind of brushed aside by the first medical person I talked to as being too young. I waited another 10 years because I paid attention to the idiot.

There is no reason to wait, except to resolve your own doubts. Once you have done so, if your doctor doesn’t cooperate, find another.

Once our car is completely paid off, we will be looking for a doctor who will do it. Then we’ll have to save for the procedure. From reading other people’s difficulties in finding doctors willing to perform the procedure, I’m expecting to have a bit of trouble finding one who’ll do it, but I’m not speaking from personal experience, as I haven’t tried yet.

Initially Mr Goo asked me to wait until I was 35, so that we were both sure. Then he said 30. Now he knows that I’m so sure, and hate pumping hormones into my body, that I’d do it tomorrow if somebody offered it, and he agrees with me that I won’t change my mind. I’m currently 23, and when we were 15, I told him that if he wanted children, he’d best get himself another girlfriend, and he knows that I think things through thoroughly, and know my own mind.

At first, I wanted a doctor to do it on my terms, but now I don’t care about making a point, I’ll say whatever they want to hear just to get it done. (same as abortion… my friend had to say she was mentally or financially unable to proceed with her pregnancy, when I objected, saying that “I want an abortion” should be reason enough, she pointed out that it’s more important to get what you want done than to make a point to someone who probably doesn’t care anyway) While we’re still discussing this (it is an important decision) I am expecting that I’ll be doctor-hunting by the end of the year… How about a tubal for Valentine’s Day… what a present !

Ummm, sorry about the hijack, pepperlandgirl :slight_smile:

Well, I originally went to the campus’s OB/GYN because I was worried that I didn’t have my period…in over 2 years. So, they put me on the Pill because they couldn’t find anything wrong with me…I just wasn’t having a period. So I don’t know if I can be put on Depro…Again, that’s something I’ll ask about it.
And it would cost the same, because I’m currently paying $5/month for the pills.

And the paranoia really doesn’t help the sex life…we can’t do everything we’d like to do because I am so frightened of the potential consequences.

Thank you Goo for the link and for sharing your experience.

Freezing the lil spermies or eggs may be too cost-prohibitive.

Talk to your doctor and have him/her confirm for you that the Pill AND condoms w/ spermicide are a perfectly good method of birth control.

As long as you take the pill when you should be, you won’t be ovulating anyway, and the spermicide should take care of the other end. Unless you’re really bad about remembering take your pill, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

Try and relax, and go have fun with your honey!