We Want a Baby: Vasectomy Reversal or In Vitro Fertilization?
What do you do when your partner has had a vasectomy and now you want to get pregnant?
There are two types of treatments: vasectomy reversal, and IVF (in vitro fertilization), that may be successful in allowing you to have a baby.
Discuss both options with your doctor to determine what procedure is best for your own personal circumstances.
When comparing the two treatments, one thing to remember is that they both come with minimal risk, however with IVF treatment both of you will have to undergo medical tests and procedures.
What is a Vasectomy Reversal?
During this procedure, the male reproductive tract is going to be reconstructed. When a vasectomy is performed the vas deferens is blocked or cut. The vas deferens is located on the left and right side of the testicles.
The blockage in the vas deferens will stop any sperm from being ejaculated. When a vasectomy is reversed the vas deferens is once again connected to allow the sperm to be ejaculated.
The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Recovery time is usually a day or two, but your partner would most likely have needed more recovery time after the vasectomy was first performed.
If reconstruction of the vas deferens is not successful your doctor will recommend that your partner’s sperm is retrieved to be used in IVF treatment.
Before the Reversal
Before a vasectomy reversal is performed your doctor will remove a sample of fluid from the end of the vas deferens to ensure that there is viable sperm present.
If there are sperm available the reversal will be a go. There’s no point in having a vasectomy reversed if there are no sperm to be ejaculated that can fertilize your eggs.
Success Rate of Vasectomy Reversal
Success rates for a vasectomy reversal are about 60 to 90 per cent and are contingent on what needs to be reconstructed.
The longer the time is between the first vasectomy and the reversal, the lower the chances of success. It may take from 12 to 24 months for you to conceive but the good news is that the pregnancy rates after a reversal are from 40 to 70 per cent.
Are There Risks Involved With a Vasectomy Reversal?
There are few risks when it comes to having a reversal performed. Some of the things to look for after the procedure has been done include bruising, tenderness, infection, and post-op pain.
There is also a slight risk of having decreased urination. Perhaps one of the biggest things to consider before having your partner’s vasectomy reversed is to ensure that your reproductive system is working.
This includes making sure that your ovaries are working properly and that your fallopian tubes aren’t blocked. You don’t want your partner to have the reversal done only to find out that you’re still not able to conceive.
IVF and Sperm Retrieval
IVF and sperm retrieval can be done when a vasectomy reversal isn’t successful. During a surgical procedure, sperm is retrieved from your partner’s testes. His sperm is then used in the IVF procedure.
You’ll need to take medication to stimulate your ovaries into producing a few eggs. Your eggs are retrieved and then injected with your partner’s sperm.
The fertilized eggs are then injected into your uterus where the hope is that at least one will be implanted in the lining of the uterus, and you’ll be pregnant.
The Success Rate of IVF
The success rate for IVF treatment is about 25 to 50 per cent. The older you are the lower your chances of getting pregnant during each IVF cycle.
One of the main advantages of choosing IVF over a vasectomy reversal is that you may be able to conceive in a shorter amount of time.
With the vasectomy reversal you’ll have a while to try to get pregnant, where if you choose IVF, pregnancy can be attempted as soon as your partner’s sperm has been retrieved.
Deciding Between Vasectomy Reversal or IVF
Many doctors believe that whenever possible, a vasectomy reversal is more beneficial than IVF. One big advantage of having a reversal done is that your partner will be fertile and have viable sperm for many years to come.
If you choose to IVF to have a baby you’ll only be able to conceive during each IVF cycle. For this reason, have a reversal done is much more cost effective as it takes most couples at least three IVF cycles to get pregnant.
During the IVF procedure, both you and your partner will have to undergo multiple doctor visits and medical tests. This can be quite costly.
Another drawback when it comes to IVF is that your chances are increased of having multiple pregnancies which can lead to pregnancy complications.
The important thing is that you and your partner talk to your doctor and make decisions that are best for you and your future family.