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Vasectomy reversal questions

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  • Retired account

    My husband had a vasectomy about 3 years ago after he had 2 kids with his ex wife, now we would like to have one or two kids of our own. He has read that the reversal is very painful. Is that true? What is the average cost of the reversal? Also is there a way to get his sperm out and inject into me without doing the reversal?

    Dr. Edward Karpman

    The good news is that a vasectomy reversal is very effective. It has been shown in multiple studies that vasectomy reversal is the most cost-effective method of having a baby after a vasectomy. This is contingent on the fact that the reversal is done by a qualified surgeon that utilizes an operative microscope. An easy way to guarantee the highest quality for your procedure is to ask if your surgeon is fellowship trained to perform vasectomy reversals. Many urologists will do vasectomy reversals, but this is no guarantee to the quality of the procedure.

    The pain associated with a vasectomy reversal is minimal, but more severe if you compare it to the vasectomy procedure itself. Vasectomies are done through small “key-hole” incisions under a local anesthetic. Vasectomy reversals are done through a larger incision. I prefer to do the surgery under a general anesthetic and in a surgery center. This ensures that that the patient will not feel any pain during the surgery and that a qualified nursing staff can ensure the patient is comfortable prior to being discharged. The recovery after a vasectomy reversal is slightly longer than the vasectomy itself, but most patients can return to work in 4-5 days if they have a “desk” job.

    The cost of a vasectomy reversal is highly variable. I have heard that prices can range from $1,500 to $17,000. However, most of the reputable places I know of charge anywhere from $7,500 to $12,000 dollars for the entire procedure. Lower price procedures oftentimes will not perform general anesthesia or are done in an office setting to cut costs. Higher cost procedures are oftentimes done at centers where vasectomy reversals are not routinely performed and, consequently, a higher volume discount is not available. Medical care is definitely a “you get what you pay for” arena. Finding the best bargain oftentimes ends up costing more because of the necessity for a secondary procedures to correct the mistakes that were done the first time around. Your best chances of a successful vasectomy reversal are when it is done correctly the first time.

    An alternative to vasectomy reversal is sperm retrieval with IVF/ICSI. Sperm from the testicle or epididymis can only be used for IVF/ICSI where the sperm is injected directly into the the egg. This approach can cost around $15,000 for the entire procedure and usually has a 30% success rate per cycle. If necessary, additional cycles can double or triple this cost. Vasectomy reversal allows the couple to have unlimited tries at getting pregnant. It is no surprise that vasectomy reversal is the most cost-effective method of getting pregnant after a vasectomy.

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