On average, around 2.4% of the world’s male population opt for vasectomy as a safe and effective form of contraception, as the study suggests. But is it possible to conceive a child after vasectomy? If yes, how?
To be fair, undergoing a vasectomy reduces (and almost eliminates) the chances of pregnancy. However, there are some odd situations wherein pregnancy can occur despite the male partner having done a vasectomy.
This article will explore the what, why, and how related to vasectomy and the possibility of a pregnancy.
In this Article
- 1 What is Vasectomy?
- 2 What are the Odds of Pregnancy after a Vasectomy?
- 3 What are the Reasons for Pregnancy after a Vasectomy?
- 4 Can a Vasectomy be Reversed?
- 5 Can I get Pregnancy after a Vasectomy Reversal?
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 FAQs
What is Vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a surgical contraceptive method for men. The procedure involves cutting or blocking the “tubes” or the vas deferens in male patients. The vas deferens are the tubes responsible for carrying the sperm cells from the testicles to the urethra.
So, a patient who has undergone vasectomy has this passage blocked, stopping the sperm from getting into the semen, thus preventing pregnancy.
Undergoing vasectomy doesn’t affect the ejaculation process. A male still ejaculates when they orgasm. However, there are no sperm cells in the semen during ejaculation.
Then, how is pregnancy possible even after a vasectomy? We will explore the possibilities in the next section of the article.
What are the Odds of Pregnancy after a Vasectomy?
Despite being quite an effective form of contraception, around 1 in 1000 pregnancies can happen even if the male partner has had a vasectomy.
According to doctors and researchers, most pregnancies, despite vasectomy, happen when the couples engage in unprotected sexual intercourse within 3 months after the vasectomy procedure.
The sperm cells, even after the procedure, are stored in the vas deferens for a few weeks to a few months, so engaging in unprotected sex during that period can result in a pregnancy. Reports also suggest that this “stored sperm” in the vas deferens can take up to 20 ejaculations to be expelled out entirely.
To test the effectiveness of the vasectomy, most patients are asked to come back for check-in around 3 months after the procedure. The semen sample is checked for sperm cells to assess the success rate of the surgical procedure.
What are the Reasons for Pregnancy after a Vasectomy?
Now that you know what vasectomy entails, you must be confused about its relation to pregnancy. So, what are some of the reasons contributing to a successful conception despite a vasectomy?
Let us walk you through a few options:
1. Not being careful of the waiting window
As we mentioned in the above sub-heading, a vasectomy patient should wait for at least 3 months before engaging in unprotected sex. Since sperm cells are still predominantly present in the vas deferens up to 3 months after the surgery, it is important to opt for additional contraceptive methods to prevent the risks of pregnancy.
Even studies have found that around 1 in every 1000 women get pregnant due to engaging in early sex without protection after the vasectomy procedure.
2. Failed Vasectomy
As common sense suggests, pregnancy after vasectomy is a sign that the procedure was unsuccessful. This happens when you are working with an inexperienced surgeon or a facility with poor medical infrastructure.
The primary reason for a failed vasectomy is when the vas deferens are partially blocked, leaving space in the tubes for the sperm cells to pass through and add to the semen. Getting checked around three months after the vasectomy procedure is thus essential to assess if the surgery worked or it didn’t.
3. Possibility of a Recanalization
Our bodies are unique in their functions and anatomy. One of the main reasons for pregnancy after vasectomy is recanalization.
In this, the vas deferens create new connections and channels in the reproductive system, providing a “bypass” for the sperm cells to get into the urethra and mix with the semen. This can lead to a failed vasectomy and can happen within weeks, months, or even years after getting a vasectomy.
The most common timeframe of the recanalization is within 12 weeks after the surgical procedure, which is 3 months. The precedence of this issue is very common in patients with open-ended vasectomy.
Whatever the reason is, getting a thorough check-in of the issue is crucial. You should sit down with your surgeon and discuss the issues at length to get a full picture of whether it was due to unprotected sex in the waiting window or a failed vasectomy procedure.
Can a Vasectomy be Reversed?
Vasectomies are reversible. So, if you underwent the surgical procedure but want to reverse it later because you changed your mind, that is possible.
In the vasectomy reversal, the surgeon will open the blocked pathway in the vas deferens and reconnect them to allow easy inflow of the sperm cells back from the testicles to the urethra.
However, a vasectomy reversal process is quite extensive and requires the hands of a very skilled and experienced surgeon. It typically involves two types of procedures – Vasovasostomy and Vasoepididymostomy.
The surgeon will assess the state of the reproductive anatomy of the patient and the history of the vasectomy procedure to decide which one would be ideal for them.
Can I get Pregnancy after a Vasectomy Reversal?
Once the vasectomy reversal procedure is done, the chances of a successful pregnancy depend on several factors. It can be an easy ride for some couples, or it can be extremely difficult as well.
Typically, the chances of a successful pregnancy after a vasectomy depends on:
- The success rate of the vasectomy reversal procedure
- Sperm count and sperm quality of the male partner
- The overall physical well-being of the couple
- Reproductive well-being of the female partner
- Age of the couple
- Timing of the sexual intercourse
There are possibilities to undergo a second vasectomy reversal procedure if the first one fails. However, it is always better to consult a highly skilled surgeon so that the procedure is a success in the first go.
Vasectomy is one of the most effective forms of contraception. However, it comes with its set of rules, benefits, and side effects. If you are worried about the procedure failing, it’s always advised to get the issue checked from a clinic or hospital. Also, a successful pregnancy even after vasectomy is often an issue about not following the post-surgical guidelines, as we mentioned. Talk to your doctor if something feels out of the blue.
There are studies that suggest that around 100 vasectomy procedures might fail within the first five years after the first surgery.
The most common chances of a pregnancy after a vasectomy are within the first three months after the surgery. It might indicate “failure” of the surgery, but typically, it is the waiting period after the surgery since sperm cells are still present in the vas deferens for up to 3 months.
The only way to test the effectiveness or success rate is by getting tested. You will be asked to provide a semen sample, which will be further tested to check for sperm cells. If there are sperm cells even after 3 months of the vasectomy procedure, it indicates a failed surgery.