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Vasectomy Reversal Alternatives

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Vasectomy reversal alternatives do exist. However, under normal circumstances undergoing vasectomy reversal is the best choice. Whether vasectomy reversal fails or an alternative is the preferred method, sperm banking will be necessary.

Learn about Vasectomy Reversal and Sperm Banking.

Alternatives to vasectomy reversal will be necessary under circumstances such as:

If the Female is Unlikely to Become Pregnant Naturally

When considering having another child, the female should undergo a gynaecological evaluation before a vasectomy reversal in order to assess her fertility potential. There are situations where vasectomy reversal is not the best alternative. Examples include where a woman's tubes are completely blocked or if she is at the end of her reproductive life cycle and may not want to wait the four months to a year for the manís sperm to return to the ejaculate. In these cases, IVF (in-vitro fertilization) will be the preferred alternative for producing a pregnancy.

Vasectomy Reversal Failure

If vasectomy reversal fails vasectomy reversal alternatives must be considered. The success rates for the two vasectomy reversal reconnection techniques offer different vasectomy success / failure rates. On average, 14% of men who undergo vasovasotomies and 40% of men with vasoepididymostomies have no sperm in their semen after surgery. If sperm are not present in the semen by six months after vasovasotomy or by twelve to eighteen months after vasoepididymostomy, then the vasectomy reversal surgery is considered a failure.

See Types of reconnection: Two Methods

Should the vasectomy reversal fail, then the couple may consider repeating the vasectomy reversal. The other alternative to vasectomy reversal involves Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as invitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytomplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). During the vasectomy reversal sperm is banked, or afterward, sperm are obtained for IVF/ICSI, via a minor surgical procedure (sperm retrieval), where sperm is extracted directly from the testicles or the epididymis. Sperm obtained this way do not swim well, so they must be manipulated as opposed to just placed inside the female genital tract with these methods.

Invitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is used as an alternative to vasectomy reversal used to initiate pregnancy for couples unable to conceive through natural methods. Routine IVF treatment has a low rate of success. So in order to improve pregnancy rates, the process is usually coupled with manipulations that require special preparation of the egg and the sperm. It involves incubation of a female egg with a male sperm in a culture dish. For this alternative fertilization technique to work, the egg must have optimal maturity and the sperm must function normally. Once a fertilized egg develops into an embryo, it is transferred back into the female.

Intracytomplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is the 'gold standard' micromanipulation technique developed so far to enhance IVF fertilization rates, as a vasectomy reversal alternative. This procedure involves a direct injection of a single sperm into an egg. Pregnancy rates are very low with routine IVF - about an 18% chance of pregnancy per cycle. The female partner must also undergo a surgical procedure to remove the eggs from her ovary before which she will receive various drug treatments and undergo numerous ultrasounds. A full cycle of IVF is repeated for every attempt at pregnancy. However the pregnancy rate is high.

IVF Cost vs. Vasectomy Reversal

In one study, the cost of one cycle of IVF ranged from $8000 to $15,000, with the average cost to produce a pregnancy about $75,000. When comparing the alternative, vasectomy reversal, has an average cost estimate of $25,000 to produce a pregnancy.

Vasectomy Reversal Verses IVF

Among the reasons many infertility specialists suggest that for men, there is not a vasectomy reversal alternative are:

  • A successful vasectomy reversal and subsequent pregnancy is much less expensive than a pregnancy through IVF.
  • A successful vasectomy reversal provides a long term supply of sperm and multiple opportunities for fertilization.

Conclusion: Vasectomy Reversal Alternatives

When vasectomy reversal alternatives will be necessary, a couple will turn to assisted reproduction techniques which involve combining sperm and eggs to treat infertility and bring about pregnancy. There are different IVT (invitro fertilization techniques) depending upon your situation. However, under usual circumstances vasectomy reversal is your best alternative.

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