The kinetics of the return of motile sperm to the ejaculate after vasectomy reversal

J Urol. 2007 Jun;177(6):2272-6. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2007.01.158.


Purpose: In prior analyses we observed that the achievable patency rate after vasectomy reversal is a key factor in whether reversal surgery is more cost-effective than in vitro fertilization-intracytoplasmic sperm injection for fertility after vasectomy. Because pregnancies will occur sooner with an earlier time to patency, this clinical parameter becomes important with advanced maternal age. We hypothesize that there are predictors of time to patency after reversal that are valuable for patient counseling and intraoperative decision making in cases of advanced maternal age.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed a cohort of consecutive men who underwent vasectomy reversal. Data obtained included patient demographics, semen analyses, intraoperative findings, patency rates and time to achieve patency.

Results: A total of 150 patients met the inclusion criteria. Mean patient age was 42.9 years (range 27 to 61) and mean followup was 12.5 months (range 1 to 90). The presence of motile sperm in vasa predicted faster patency rates postoperatively. Of patients with motile sperm 95% achieved patency by 6 months whereas 76% of patients without motile sperm achieved patency within 6 months (p = 0.04). An obstructive interval of 8 years or less and undergoing vasovasostomy instead of epididymovasostomy predicted faster time to patency within the first 3 months after reversal. Patient age was not associated with time to patency after bilateral vasovasostomy.

Conclusions: Motile sperm found intraoperatively at the testicular vas, undergoing vasovasostomy and an obstructive interval of 8 years or less predict shorter time to patency after vasectomy reversal. Patient age does not appear to affect patency kinetics after reversal. Patient counseling regarding fertility after vasectomy may benefit from this information especially in the setting of advanced maternal age.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ejaculation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semen / cytology*
  • Sperm Motility / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vas Deferens / physiopathology*
  • Vasovasostomy*