How do I Know if My Vasectomy Worked?
The contraceptive effects of a Vasectomy are not Immediate.
It is very important that you remember that men are not sterile as soon as their surgery is finished. Sperm routinely mature in the vas deferens and may have traveled beyond the site of the blockage created during surgery. Sperm are capable of surviving for several weeks in the seminal tract before being reabsorbed by the body. Because there is no change in the volume or consistency of your semen, there is no way to tell if sperm are present except by a semen analysis or by running a SpermCheck® study kit. For this reason, we recommend at least 12 ejaculations occur prior to your first semen analysis. All patients should undergo 2 semen analysis at least 4 weeks apart.
We have several ways to check your semen for sperm after a vasectomy, including:
- A semen analysis done at our office read by your doctor. This is a free service and you will be provided two specimen cups at the time of your procedure. You will masturbate into a specimen cup. You will need to call the office before you bring in your sample to make sure that the doctor is in the office and not in the operating room. You will be informed later that day if the sample has any sperm.
- A semen analysis done at an outside lab. For this option, an order will be sent to a laboratory near you and you can take your semen sample to the lab. The cost and specific directions for your semen sample will need to be discussed with your specific lab of choice.
- A SpermCheck® study kit is perhaps the easiest and most private way to make sure the vasectomy worked. Patients who choose to use this service you will either leave the office with the tests or order them on your own. The testing is done in the privacy of your own home and you will know the results almost immediately. The results are communicated back to your doctor through a secure phone system.
How often does a vasectomy fail?
Recanalization occurs when the ends of the vas deferens spontaneously reconnect and create a channel through which sperm can move. Very few vasectomies result in recanalization. Studies have also shown that, while rare, as many as one out of every 100 vasectomies performed will fail to prevent a pregnancy in the five-year period after the surgery. You are free to have testing performed as often as you would like to make sure you vasectomy has not reversed itself.