There are many facts and myths surrounding vasectomy reversals. Here is some information to clarify these.
Myth: You can get too old to have a vasectomy reversal.
You can never be too old to reverse a vasectomy. As long as you do not have medical problems which could prevent you from having a general anaesthetic, then you can have the procedure. By having a vasectomy reversal you are giving yourself the best chance of regaining your fertility and you are never too old to father a child. Look at the ages of some of these people when they fathered a child: Paul McCartney (aged 61), Rod Stewart (aged 66), Jack Nicholson, (aged 53) and Des O’Connor was 73!
Fact: the world’s oldest father was recorded as Les Colley, an australian who fathered a child at the age of 92!
Mr Harriss’s oldest patient, to date, was 65.
Myth: There’s no point considering a vasectomy reversal after 10 years
This is old news based on old surgical methods before the use of a microscope. Many people ask us if it is too late, or if there is any point. Mr Harriss only performs vasectomy reversals using the microscope technique and has performed hundreds of vasectomy reversals using his refined techniques of vasovasostomy and vasoepidymectomy on men who had their vasectomy recently and on men who had theirs a long time ago.
Fact: A patient of Mr Harriss had his vasectomy reversal 35 years after his vasectomy and had an excellent sperm count of 80 million per ml afterwards.
A study published in March 2002 in the Fertility and Sterility publication examined the success rates of vasectomy reversal performed 15 years or more after the original vasectomy. It identified the following pregnancy rates for period of time after vasectomy. For 15-19 years, the pregnancy rate was 49%; for 20-25 years, the pregnancy rate was 39% and for over 25 years since vasectomy, it was 25%. Mr Harriss’s figures are comparable to this.
Myth: Anti-sperm antibodies make a vasectomy reversal a waste of time
This is not true. There is much incorrect a false information around, if you have happened to read it!
Fact: After any testicular trauma, be that being kicked in the testicles, suffering from testicular torsion (twisted testicle), infection, testicular cancer or vasectomy, the body can start to produce antibodies against its own sperm. This is particulary so after a vasectomy where the body encounters sperm for the first time as there can be leakage (sometimes) from the cut vas deferens into the body.
Now, read this carefully: Studies have shown that 70% of men who have vasectomy, develop antibodies in their BLOOD, they do not develop antibodies in their SPERM and it is the sperm that matters. That is where the facts have been twisted and reported incorrectly.
The antibodies in the blood do NOT affect the outcome of a vasectomy reversal. It is the possible presence of antibodies on the sperm which MAY prevent pregnancy from occuring, having said that, it is more often poor surgery that contributes to a poor outcome of vasectomy reversal surgery.
There is literature (2008) to say that there is no association between inflammatory (infection) responses and antisperm antibodies which means that infection does not lead to anti sperm antibodies forming.
In 2011, the results of a study looking at all previous studies found that semen antisperm antibodies are not related to pregnancy rates after IVF or ICSI which in turn means that it is very debatable that they have any role in preventing a normal pregnancy after a vasectomy reversal.
To conclude, a study published in 2010 following up 500 vasectomy reversal patients in Germany highlighted that no specific testing before vasectomy reversal can aid in predicting the fertility outcome.
Myth: You Do Not Need A “Microsurgical” Vasectomy Reversal
The microsurgical method is the only method worth considering when deciding whether to have a vasectomy reversal. A study in the “Urology” publication found that the most common problem for couples post operatively was poor sperm quality due to poor surgery and not sperm antibodies.
Myth: A Microsurgical Vasectomy Reversal Can Be Performed by Any Urologist
Technically, yes, but it is not be advised. It is interesting that there are no governing bodies for claims about success rates, ethical standards and integrity. The internet can be a minefield. Mr Harriss performs microsurgical vasectomy reversals every week (apart from when he is on holiday) and each week he performs around 15-20. He offers a non-selective service. He is highly skilled and gets results as seen in his testimonials and on his facebook page. It is only through performing this delicate operation on a weekly, regular basis that he is considered an expert.