Your contraception guide

Can I get a vasectomy reversed?

Vasectomy reversal is a complicated procedure that's not always guaranteed to work.

A vasectomy, also known as male sterilisation, works by preventing sperm from the testes (the male sex glands that produce and store sperm) reaching the semen that's 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's not always possible to reverse the procedure.

If you're considering having a vasectomy, you should bear this in mind and think very carefully before making your decision.

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

Can I get a vasectomy reversal on the NHS?

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

It's 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's 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's passed since your vasectomy, the more scar tissue will have developed in the tubes that carry sperm to your penis.

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

  • 75% if you have your vasectomy reversed within 3 years
  • up to 55% after 3 to 8 years
  • between 40% and 45% after 9 to 14 years
  • 30% after 15 to 19 years
  • less than 10% after 20 years

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

Pregnancy rates also depend on the fertility of the female partner and are lower if she is 40 or older.

In some cases pregnancy still may not happen after a vasectomy reversal, even when there's 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.

For example, you could have sperm surgically removed and then stored before being used in IVF treatment.

You should see your GP for further information and advice about this.

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Page last reviewed: 18/12/2018
Next review due: 18/12/2021