Is a Vasectomy Permanent?

Is a Vasectomy Permanent?

About 50 million American men have had vasectomies, and each year, another half million men join them. Vasectomy is a very effective form of birth control — in fact, it’s more effective than nearly every other type of birth control.

But what if you change your mind in the future? Can a vasectomy be reversed? Often, the answer is yes.

In fact, at Gulf Coast Urology, John Bertini, Jr., MD, FACS, and James M. Harris, MD, perform vasectomy reversals (or vasovasostomy surgery) using state-of-the-art techniques to help men restore their fertility. If you’ve had a vasectomy and you’re wondering if you can have it reversed, here’s what you should know.

The ABCs of vasectomy

Vasectomy gets its name from the vas deferens, a thin tube that carries sperm from the testes prior to ejaculation. There are two vas deferens, each connected to a single testis (testicle).

In a vasectomy procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision (sometimes two small incisions) to access each vas deferens. Each tube is cut and a small section is removed. Then, the ends of each vas deferens are closed to prevent sperm from being ejaculated.

A vasectomy doesn’t have any effect on a man’s ability to obtain or maintain an erection, produce ejaculate, or perform sexually. It also has no effect on testosterone production or your libido. In fact, you may find sex more pleasurable without the worry of unintended pregnancy. 

Reversing a vasectomy

Although vasectomy offers plenty of benefits for men who don’t want children in the future, there are some times when a man who’s had a vasectomy may change his mind. In those cases, a vasectomy procedure is possible — and very often, reversal is completely successful. 

In general, the success of vasectomy reversal surgery depends a lot on how long ago you had your original vasectomy. In general, vasectomy reversal is more effective if performed within 10 years of the vasectomy procedure, with pregnancy rates declining as time goes on.

That said, not all reversal surgeries are successful. If you’re considering a vasectomy, it’s important to base your decision on a firm intention not to have children in the future.

The reversal procedure

Like a vasectomy, reversal surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. Your surgeon makes a small incision in your scrotum to provide access to the vas deferens. Scar tissue is removed from the cut ends, and the two “clean” ends are sutured back together. 

Next, the surgeon may look for other possible areas of sperm blockage. Sometimes, a vasectomy causes changes in the epididymis, a tiny coiled tube that sperm must pass through on their way to the vas deferens. 


Sometimes, a vasectomy causes increased pressure inside the tiny coil, causing it to rupture. In order for a vasectomy reversal to be successful, your surgeon will need to bypass the damaged epididymis before placing the vas deferens back in the scrotum and closing the incision.

Vasectomy reversal: The bottom line

Vasectomy reversal is associated with pregnancy rates of 30%-70%, depending on factors like:

The key to achieving the highest success rates is to select a surgeon with experience in complex vasectomy reversal surgeries, including surgeries involving the tiny epididymis. The surgeons at Gulf Coast Urology have the expertise and experience to help each patient achieve the highest levels of success.

To learn more about vasectomy reversal procedures at our practices in Houston and Nassau Bay, Texas, call or book an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Every Man Should Know About Prostate Health

You’ve probably heard of prostate cancer, and you may know that you need to get your prostate checked, but if that’s the extent of your knowledge, take a moment to discover all you need to know about this important gland.

I'm Worried Because My Urine Smells Strong

Strong smelling urine may be related to something as simple as eating a lot of asparagus. Sometimes, however, it’s an indication of a more serious problem. Our team explains underlying health conditions that can cause malodorous urine.

Reasons to Consider an Adult Circumcision

About 60% of newborns are circumcised before they leave the hospital. But if you didn't have the procedure as a baby, you can choose to have an adult circumcision. For some, circumcision is a personal choice; for others, it's medically necessary.

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Sex Life

The effects of diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, can be far-reaching. The sex lives of both women and men can be adversely affected by changes to their bodies that are influenced or caused by diabetes.

6 Causes of Testicle Pain

Most men are familiar with the intense, acute pain following a blow to the groin. But what does ongoing testicle pain mean for your health? Learn about some of the common causes of testicle pain and what to do if your pain is chronic.