The post vasectomy sperm count is a crucial part of the vasectomy process. A semen analysis is the only way to be 100% sure that a man is sterile after his procedure.
Why is this extra step so important? After a vasectomy, live sperm may still be present in a man’s semen for a number of months. This means that there is still a chance of a woman becoming pregnant long after the vasectomy, even if the procedure was technically successful.
Until a man has reached a lab-verified state of azoospermia (no sperm in the ejaculate), he and his partner must use alternate forms of contraception.
Studies have shown that 40% to 50% of men never go back for semen analysis after their vasectomy. This lack of follow up testing is one of the most common causes for an unexpected post-vasectomy pregnancy, and it’s why the single most important step a man can take to ensure his vasectomy was successful is to have a sperm check test performed by a lab.
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Requirements for the “all clear”
Most doctors recommend waiting several months and having 20-25 ejaculations before the first sperm test. Some doctors will require a second test at a later time before giving clearing a man for unprotected intercourse.
The number of ejaculations is the most important factor for sperm clearance after a vasectomy, which means it’s possible to be cleared after a very short time once these ejaculations have flushed the man’s system clean of all sperm. Simply waiting for the sperm to die and disintegrate will take much longer than completing the required number of ejaculations.
However, most doctors still include an element of time along with an ejaculation requirement since a high percentage of men do not return for a second test. By waiting a bit longer than may be strictly necessary, the odds are increased that an “all clear” will be provided after the first semen analysis.
The extended waiting period can also help detect early failure due to recanalization, a natural reversal process that occurs in less than 1% of vasectomies.
Non-motile sperm are sperm cells which do not move on their own. The presence of a few non-motile sperm after a vasectomy does not represent a vasectomy failure, and these man will generally become completely azoospermic in time. However, most doctors are unwilling to clear a man for unprotected intercourse until there are no sperm in the ejaculate.
The presence of persistent rare non-motile sperm after a vasectomy has been debated extensively by fertility specialists. The possibility of these rare non-motile sperm causing a pregnancy is almost zero. However, the consequences of even a miniscule percentage of men causing a pregnancy due to non-motile sperm means that the majority of physicians won’t allow unprotected intercourse until all sperm are absent in the ejaculate.
SpermCheck home sperm test kit
SpermCheck is an FDA approved home sperm testing kit. The “Vasectomy” version of the product comes with two tests and is designed to allow men to check their sperm count from the comfort of their own home.