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Reasons for Sperm Banking Before Vasectomy

Pre vasectomy, or before undergoing a vasectomy, sperm banking is an option that must be seriously considered. So gather information now to understand the reasons for and against sperm banking. If you now are concerned that you may wish to father a child after vasectomy, then vasectomy is likely not right for you. However, a sperm bank ensures against a regrettable decision by offering a back-up plan for later fertility. Despite knowing that vasectomy is considered permanent, an estimated 10% of men (50,000 annually in North America) change their mind and undergo a vasectomy reversal. Though most men choose not to sperm bank before their vasectomy, most are also not adequately presented with sperm banking as a smart option. Therefore this article is written to show-cause a rationale that favors sperm banking as a worth-while choice.

There is merit in alleviating concerns about being permanently sterile. Remember that your vasectomy doctor walks a fine line. If the prospective patient demonstrates any doubt about undergoing a vasectomy, then it will be best to err on the side of caution by suggesting that he not undergo the vasectomy. As a result, without intending to, sperm banking may not be encouraged or even suggested as an option. Sperm banking is a reasonable option to consider and the time to consider whether to sperm bank is now, pre-vasectomy. Keep in mind that reversing a vasectomy:

  • Is rarely covered by medical insurance plans,
  • Is expensive,
  • Is a much more involved surgery,
  • Returning sperm to the ejaculate is a relatively lengthy and uncertain process
  • Has a success rate for pregnancy much lower than a normal pregnancy.

There can be several good reasons for changing your mind after a vasectomy. Life presents many surprises, causing you to regret your vasectomy. Emotional considerations can include the loss of a child, a new marriage, or just a desire to have more children to complete the family. And then the emotionally charged question becomes, "can my vasectomy be reversed" or "can you reverse my vasectomy"? Sperm banking allows couples to have dependable sterility now and by "banking" sperm it allows for the possibility of a future with children.

Sperm banking (or cryopreservation) is a simple process that involves storing your healthy sperm. Your ejaculate is tested and then stored at a sperm bank for long term storage. There are fees involved in both steps. The sperm is kept in a liquid nitrogen tanks for permanent frozen storage. After a vasectomy, if you change your mind, pregnancy is accomplished using Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and sperm microinjection.

When Sperm Banking is the Best Option

Should you change your mind after a vasectomy, there are circumstances that make sperm banking the best option and vasectomy reversal may not be a viable alternative at the time.

  • Before undergoing a vasectomy reversal the female partner should undergo a gynecological evaluation to ensure that she has adequate fertility potential. Examples where IVF will be necessary can include if she is older than 40 or her tubes are completely blocked. In these situations, vasectomy reversal sperm banking will have paid off. See:
    Alternatives to Vasectomy Reversal
    FAQ: When can the couple attempt to become pregnant?
    FAQ: Should the female partner be evaluated?
  • If your sperm becomes compromised, sperm banking will be the most viable option for later fertility. This may be worth discussing with your doctor. A few examples include:
    • Having undergone a treatment for cancer that may impair sperm production or quality (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation).
    • Taking any ongoing medications that may impair sperm production or quality (e.g., sulfasalazine, methotrexate).
    • Having undergone any procedure which affects your testes or prostate, or the ability to ejaculate (e.g., prostate resection, colon surgery, or retroperitoneal lymph node dissection).
    • Having a medical condition that may affect your ability to ejaculate (e.g., multiple sclerosis, diabetes).
    • Having a line of work where you may be introduced to reproductive toxins.
Warning: This article advocates planning for contingencies when considering a vasectomy today, and a potential reversal in the future. Gathering information about sperm banking before (pre) vasectomy is important. ART (assisted reproduction techniques) may be complicated and more expensive than a vasectomy reversal. But it's nice to have the sperm in the "bank" just in case. (this website) does not advocate in favor of or against sperm banking before a vasectomy.
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