Approximately 500,000 men have vasectomies and 650,000 women undergo tubal ligation annually in the United States. Both are effective forms of birth control so what happens later if you change your mind about having children? Although a vasectomy reversal is an outpatient procedure with minimal risk of complications, its success depends on the length of time between the vasectomy and its reversal. On the other hand, reversing tubal ligation involves a lengthier and complicated surgery with serious risks and possible long term side effects.
At the Fertility Institute, we offer successful alternatives to vasectomy or tubal litigation reversals, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and sperm aspiration. Depending on the age of partners, how many children you want, the costs involved, and how quickly you want to have a child, we can help you choose which procedure is right for you.
VASECTOMY REVERSAL AND ITS ALTERNATIVE
Vasectomy reversal is a procedure to reconnect the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm. Usually the surgery is done under local or general anesthesia and causes only a small amount of pain or discomfort. The vasectomy reversal procedure has a 40 to 90% fertility success rate. The longer the time period between a vasectomy and its reversal, the less likely it will be successful.
The Fertility Institute offers an alternative option to vasectomy reversal, sperm aspiration. Prior to in vitro fertilization (IVF), sperm is suctioned from the testicle and then used to fertilize the female partner’s eggs. The sperm aspiration procedure is preferred by couples interested in additional children as the “extra” sperm may be frozen and cryopreserved for future use.
REVERSING TUBAL LIGATION AND ALTERNATIVE
Tubal ligation reversal involves more invasive surgery than tubal ligation. Surgery to reverse tubal ligation involves reconnecting the blocked sections of the fallopian tubes to the ovaries. When only a small section of a woman’s tubes are removed or blocked, the tubes can be reconnected allowing eggs to pass through. With at least one-half of the tube still intact, the chances for pregnancy will be over 60%. However, even if there is an accurate reconnection, as the amount of tubal length diminishes so does her chance of pregnancy.
Although a majority of tubal ligations are laparoscopic, they still require several hours of hospital facility recovery time and days of recuperation. Some of the potential risks with this type of surgery include perforation of the intestine, infection, complications from anesthesia and pulmonary embolisms. Long-term possible side effects of tubal ligation include painful menstrual cycles, pelvic pain and post tubal ligation syndrome (PTS).
Some procedures for tubal ligation are reversible, while others are not. In general, pregnancy success rates after reversal of tubal ligation average about 60%, usually in the first year after the surgery. The woman’s age, the type of tubal ligation procedure she had, and the amount of scar tissue left in the pelvic area also affects fertility.
IVF surgery is less invasive than tubal ligation reversal and it has a higher fertility success rate. Even if a woman’s had her “tubes tied”, there is no need for the tubes to be reconnected to accomplish IVF because the ripened eggs can be extracted directly from the ovaries. Once the eggs are fertilized with sperm in the laboratory, the developing embryos are transferred back to the uterus.
It’s important to understand your choices before deciding on permanent birth control. First compare the differences, benefits, and risks of vasectomy vs. tubal ligation. Then discuss what would happen if you later changed your mind about having children. Reversing a vasectomy or tubal ligation procedure can be complicated and are not always successful in achieving fertilization. Call The Fertility Institute today to find out more about alternative options such as IVF and sperm aspiration. We will help you explore all options so that you can make informed choices in planning your family.