Pregnancy rate after vasectomy reversal in a contemporary series: influence of smoking, semen quality and post-surgical use of assisted reproductive techniques

BJU Int. 2012 Aug;110(4):562-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10781.x. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Study Type - Outcomes (cohort series). Level of Evidence 2b What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? Microsurgical vasectomy reversal is an effective and cost-effective method of reinstating fertility in a man who has previously had a vasectomy. The current literature indicates that the success rate (i.e. potency and pregnancy rates) are dependent primarily on the time elapsed since vasectomy and the age of the female partner. Using a multivariate Cox regression model, evaluation of the influence of preoperative data (including smoking) and semen parameters indicates a significant influence of post-surgical sperm motility only, on time to first pregnancy. The use of assisted reproductive techniques, when natural pregnancy failed, was successful in ≈50% of couples who attempted this procedure and accounted for an absolute increase in pregnancy rate of 14%.

Objective: • To determine the influence of smoking, postoperative semen characteristics and the use of an assisted reproductive technique (ART) on pregnancy rate in a contemporary series of men undergoing vasectomy reversal.

Patients and methods: • Between January 2002 and January 2009, 186 vasectomy reversals were performed. Of the 171 patients who could be contacted for follow-up, 162 attempted pregnancy and constitute the study group. • Semen analysis was performed 3 months after the procedure and at subsequent 3-monthly intervals. • Patient characteristics and surgical information were obtained from a computerized database, and follow-up data were collected by telephone interview. • A multivariate Cox regression model was used to discern possible prognosticators with respect to pregnancy outcome.

Results: • The overall patency rate was 91.4%, with a natural pregnancy rate of 44.4% and a subsequent 14.2% of patients conceiving using a ARTs resulting in a total pregnancy rate of 58.6%. Multiple pregnancies were obtained by 20.4% of couples. • Smoking of the male or female partner did not influence the probability of conception. • In a multivariate model that included, among other factors, time since vasectomy, female age and semen characteristics, only sperm motility was significantly related to natural pregnancy outcome. • The probability of obtaining a natural pregnancy within 2 years after surgery is 53% for men with sperm motility >20% (WHO a+b) compared to 19% for men with sperm motility <5% (P= 0.003).

Conclusions: • A clear and significant association between sperm motility and the probability of conception was found, whereas smoking, female age and time since vasectomy appeared to have no influence on pregnancy outcome in this patient cohort. • The use of ARTs accounted for an absolute increase in pregnancy rate of 14.2%.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Postoperative Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Semen Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Sperm Motility / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Vasovasostomy / statistics & numerical data*