Contraception guide

Can I get a vasectomy reversal on the NHS?

Vasectomy is sometimes known as "male sterilisation". A vasectomy works by preventing sperm from the testes (the male sex glands that produce and store sperm) reaching the semen that is ejaculated during orgasm.

This is achieved by cutting or blocking the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the penis.

A vasectomy is usually considered to be a permanent form of contraception because it is not always possible to reverse the procedure. If you are considering having a vasectomy, you should bear this in mind and think very carefully before making your decision.

Reversing a vasectomy is a complicated procedure that involves rejoining the sperm-carrying tubes that were cut or blocked during your vasectomy.

Availability of vasectomy reversal

Vasectomy reversal is not usually available on the NHS. If it is available in your area, there may be a very long waiting list. Speak to your GP for more information.

It is possible to have a vasectomy reversal carried out privately, but it may cost several thousand pounds. The problem with the procedure is that success rates are not very high and there is no guarantee that your fertility will return.

Success rates for vasectomy reversal

Whether or not a vasectomy reversal is successful may depend on what type of vasectomy you had and how long ago it took place. For example, the more time that has passed since your vasectomy, the more scar tissue will have developed in the tubes that carry sperm to your penis.

It is estimated that the success rate of a vasectomy reversal is:

  • up to 55% if you have your vasectomy reversed within 10 years
  • approximately 25% after more than 10 years

These figures are based on the number of couples who successfully have a baby after the man has had a vasectomy reversal.

In some cases pregnancy still may not happen after a vasectomy reversal, even when there is sperm in your semen. This is because your sperm may be less mobile after the procedure than they were before.

It may be possible to have fertility treatment in these cases. You should see your GP for further information and advice about this.

Find a GP near you.

Page last reviewed: 03/01/2014

Next review due: 03/01/2016

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Vasectomy (male sterilisation)

A vasectomy is an operation to cause sterility in men. A consultant surgeon explains what the procedure involves and why you should use contraception for three months after the operation.

Media last reviewed: 11/06/2015

Next review due: 11/06/2017