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What are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After A Vasectomy?

If you had a vasectomy, getting your partner pregnant is the last thing on your mind. The procedures are 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. This, therefore, means that there are still minimal chances of pregnancy after vasectomy. Some men get their partners pregnant even though they have had a vasectomy. It is called recanalization or recapling. The sperm can grow back through the tubes that were cut and tied during the vasectomy. Although this may happen at any time after a vasectomy, it is most common in the first few months after surgery.

How Common Is Recanalization?

A small number of men (about 1%) will get their partner pregnant within a year of having a vasectomy. This is usually because of recanalization. It happens more often after vasectomy but may also occur after other types of sterilization, such as tubal ligation (getting your “tubes tied”).

A study showed that out of 835 couples who got a vasectomy and then tried to get pregnant. About 4 in every 100 did so in the first year after surgery. This shows that about 1 in every 25 men who get a vasectomy get their partner pregnant within a year. The risk of pregnancy was more common if:

  • The man had surgery early before two years had passed since his last semen sample tested positive for sperm.
  • The surgeon used an open-ended vasectomy technique. This type of vasectomy keeps the two ends of the cut tubes closer together so sperm can leak out.
  • The tubes are not fully blocked before surgery or any leaks in the tubes after surgery.

The chances of getting your partner pregnant increase the longer it takes for you to get a negative sperm count result. Your semen isn’t free of sperm right after getting a vasectomy. One complete ejaculation takes 20-30 days to clear the tubes completely. Therefore, you will need to wait at least a month before having a sperm count test to determine if there is any sperm left in your semen. If you have unprotected sex within this period, there’s a chance of getting a woman pregnant. 

How to Reduce the Likelihood of a Failed Vasectomy

Before having a vasectomy, a professional must evaluate you. They will ask about your sexual habits and history to establish if you are a good candidate. If you have any problems with your sex life, such as impotence or premature ejaculation, you may not be an ideal candidate.

Your doctor will choose a vasectomy technique that matches your needs. Cauterization is a popular technique that increases success rates. During the procedure, your doctor will lightly burn each tube closed instead of cutting them with a scalpel. It has the advantage that it leaves less room for error. However, there are still cases of doctors burning too much or not enough of one tube, which results in an early failure.

If you plan on getting a vasectomy in New York, ask your urologist in Brooklyn, New York, about it. Ask the right questions to ensure that you set realistic expectations and know what to do if the procedure doesn’t go as planned. 

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