A vasectomy is an operation to cut the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis creating a complete block, so sperm cannot flow out of the body. This leaves you unable to father any children. The cut ends of these tubes (the vas deferens) are sealed by clipping, stitches, or cauterisation. A vasectomy therefore does not stop the production of sperm, it merely prevents them from exiting the body. After you’ve had your vasectomy, sperm gathers at the site of the blockage unable to progress any further and is harmlessly reabsorbed.
This article is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
A vasectomy should be considered a permanent solution to birth control, however, for some men life can change dramatically either through divorce, death of their partner or child, or other unexpected changes in circumstances, and they wish to reverse the operation. A vasectomy reversal can facilitate the creation of a new family even if it’s been more than twenty years since you had the vasectomy.
What is a vasectomy reversal?
During a vasectomy reversal the surgeon will attempt to rejoin the cut tubes of the vas deferens. If there is no excess pressure build-up at the site of the vasectomy, and you have not experienced an epididymal blow out, a straight forward vaso-vasostomy can be performed. This is where each end of the cut tubes can be re-joined, with stitches, to the other ends.
In cases where there is a blockage cased by pressure or an epididymal blow out, the southern half of the vas deferens will have to be bypassed, connecting the northern vas deferens to the epididymal tube itself. This is called an epididymal-vasostomy.
Both the above are common vasectomy reversal procedures and both are highly challenging for the surgeon. The channel inside the tube, which must be kept open for sperm to flow again, is only about 1mm across. The thread the surgeons sew with are thinner than a human hair, so they have to use special magnifiers to perform the surgery (which is called microsurgery).