Experience with sperm counts following vasectomy

Br J Urol. 1991 Sep;68(3):230-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410x.1991.tb15312.x.


The records of Aberdeen men requesting vasectomy between 1978 and 1981 were studied and a sample of men were interviewed about 3 years after the operation; 85% completed the standard requirements for seminal analysis and were given the "all clear"; two-thirds were cleared after sending 2 samples and usually within 20 weeks after vasectomy; 10% of men sent at least 1 sample but were never cleared and the remaining 5% ignored the requirements. Information from 70 men (63 interviews, 7 questionnaires) gave some indication of reasons, often multiple, for incomplete or non-compliance; these included embarrassment, ambiguous feelings about having more children, inadequate understanding of reproductive physiology and blind faith in the surgeon.

PIP: To better understand why some men do not comply with the requirement for 2 seminal analyses after vasectomy, 84 men from a random sample of Aberdeen residents who requested vasectomy between 1978 and 1982 were studied. Interviews and follow up were conducted on 70 men 3 years later. The sample was similar to all men requesting vasectomy by age, occupation, duration of marriage, and family size. The procedure for seminal analysis involved sending a specimen kit 3 and 4 months after the operation date. The doctor was informed when there was no response. If both sperm counts were negative, the all clear sign was given, but when spermatozoa were present, consultants recommended further action. The results showed that 4.8% sent no samples, 4.8% sent 1 sample, 66.3% sent 2 samples, and the remaining 20 cases sent 2 samples. 86% men complied fully and were given the all clear. Compliance time varied from 17 weeks to 40 weeks with a mode of 18 weeks. In the 3-year follow up survey of 70 men, 58 had given the all clear after 2 samples, 8 provided at least 1 sample and had never been cleared, and 4 sent no samples. Of the 8 men not completing the requirements, responses varied with the number of samples. It is concluded that the reasons for noncompliance can be grouped in embarrassment, ambiguous or uncertain feelings about having more children, absolute trust in the surgeon, and inadequate understanding of reproductive physiology. Few were told to engage in intercourse as soon and as often as possible to get rid of the bank of sperm. More and better information is needed and wives should by given the option of attending the consultations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Sperm Count*
  • Time Factors
  • Vasectomy* / psychology