Is the timing of post-vasectomy seminal analysis important?

Br J Urol. 1998 Mar;81(3):458-60. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-410x.1998.00563.x.


Objective: To review the practice in two hospitals with differing protocols in the timing of seminal analysis after vasectomy.

Patients and methods: The results from 245 vasectomies carried out at Hospital A, where semen was assessed 3 months after vasectomy, were reviewed and compared with those from 100 consecutive vasectomies at Hospital B, where semen was assessed 6 months after vasectomy. The results of seminal analysis at Hospital A were also audited after changing to the 6-month protocol. The patients' preferences for the timing of seminal analysis were also obtained.

Results: Of the 245 patients at Hospital A, 58 (24%) failed to provide samples, leaving 187 (76%) for evaluation; 528 samples were examined (mean 2.8 per patient, range 1-13). The first sample was positive in 36 (19.3%) and the second positive in 10 (5.3%), the first being negative. Four (2%) patients had persistent spermatozoa at 6 months, one subsequently undergoing exploration. Thirty-one (17%) patients provided further samples despite providing two consecutive clear ones. At Hospital B, 24 (24%) patients failed to provide samples; 10 (13%) patients had persistent spermatozoa at 6 months and live spermatozoa were detected in one patient's samples. All eventually produced clear samples, with none requiring exploration. After changing the protocol, 87 vasectomies were performed, with 18 (21%) patients failing to provide samples; seven (10%) of the samples collected showed occasional nonmotile spermatozoa at 6 months in either the first, second or both samples, with all samples clear by 8 months after vasectomy.

Conclusions: The complete disappearance of spermatozoa after vasectomy takes longer than is generally believed and we therefore suggest that given adequate counselling, seminal analysis 6 months after vasectomy is cost-effective and in the patient's interest.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Care
  • Sperm Count*
  • Sperm Motility
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Failure
  • Vasectomy*