Review of current practice to establish success after vasectomy

Br J Surg. 2001 Feb;88(2):290-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2168.2001.01643.x.


Background: This study aimed to examine the criteria used by surgeons in a district general hospital to confirm success following vasectomy, to establish the proportion of men undergoing vasectomy in whom the procedure was unsuccessful according to those criteria, and to evaluate their subsequent management.

Methods: All 15 surgeons performing vasectomy indicated that they required two consecutive azoospermic postvasectomy semen specimens before they advised couples that the vasectomy was successful. Results of postvasectomy semen analysis (PVSA) for all 240 primary vasectomies performed over a 12-month interval were analysed. Minimum follow-up was 30 (range 30-42; median 37) months.

Results: At follow-up 72 men (30 per cent) had not returned postvasectomy samples that fulfilled the criteria, including 18 who were azoospermic on the first PVSA 3 months after vasectomy but who failed to produce a second specimen. In 24 men (10 per cent) who failed to comply with the PVSA protocol, there was no documentation of any further action being taken. No pregnancies were reported in the partners of the study group during this interval and only one patient underwent repeat vasectomy.

Conclusion: The results suggest that the strict requirement of two consecutive azoospermic postvasectomy semen specimens may be unjustified, leads to a high level of non-compliance and causes unnecessary delay in confirming success of the procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Care
  • Professional Practice / standards*
  • Semen / chemistry
  • Sperm Count
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasectomy / standards*