Does age impact vasectomy reversal success?

Man looking into vasectomy reversals.

Modern Vasectomy Reversals

Vasectomy reversal used to be a long shot, but in recent decades, technological advancements have made it a much more effective procedure. With the advent of microsurgical techniques, the success rate of this intricate procedure has risen significantly. In the 1970s and 80s, a vasectomy reversal could be expected to succeed, returning sperm to the semen, in about 79 to 88 percent of cases. By 2004, that success rate had climbed to between 94 and 97 percent. Many men worry, though, that their age will impact their chances of regaining fertility. Let’s take a look at the question of whether age impacts vasectomy reversal success.

Men’s Age and Overall Fertility

More and more, people are waiting to start a family. This can be a concern for women, whose fertility begins to decline in their 30s, but men’s fertility declines at a slower rate. Then, too, age-related health concerns can affect men, impeding both their fertility and their odds of successful vasectomy reversal. The good news? Age does not seem to have an impact on the procedure itself. As long as a man is healthy enough for a surgical procedure, his chances of a successful vasectomy reversal are good. In fact, recent research analyzing the results of 3,000 men over 50 and 350 men under 50 determined that the age of the man was not a significant factor in the success of the procedure. The researchers concluded that men over 50 should consider vasectomy reversal a viable option.

Which Factors Impact the Success of the Procedure?

While age is not an independent factor, certain elements can impact the chances of success. Smoking decreases the odds of successful vasectomy reversal, and men with older partners were less likely to conceive. Surgery in the groin area, including hernia surgery, can also decrease the likelihood of successful reversal. The most important factor, however, was the time elapsed since the vasectomy. Often, men have vasectomies when they’re young, and then change their minds and want to restore their fertility when they’re older. Studies done in years past have indicated that the longer a man waits after his initial surgery, the lower the chances of a successful reversal. However, newer research, using modern techniques, has shown that the success rates are about the same for reversals done within 15 years of the original vasectomy, regardless of the amount of time that has elapsed within those 15 years. After 15 years, however, the success rates dropped significantly, going as low as 44 percent.

Why is Time a Factor?

As time passes after a vasectomy, pressure can build between the vas deferens and the epididymis. When a vasectomy reversal is performed, this pressure can require the surgeon to perform a more complex, less reliable procedure. The most common type of vasectomy reversal is a vasovasostomy, which is straightforward, just reconnecting the previously severed vas deferens, and has a success rate of over 90 percent. When there is increased pressure or blockage, the surgeon may need to pivot to a more complicated technique known as a vasoepididymostomy, which involves locating and alleviating the blockage from the epididymis. An experienced surgeon can still accomplish a successful reversal, so speak to your doctor if you have concerns.

Center for Vasectomy Reversal Cares About Men’s Health

At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, men’s health is our priority. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their health and fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Dr. Green and his team provide state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. Having had extensive training in urology, microsurgery, and vasectomy reversal, Dr. Green founded the Center for Vasectomy Reversal to provide the highest level of patient care while delivering optimal surgical results. To learn more about how our experienced team can help you reach your reproductive goals, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.