You and your wife decide you’re done having children, so you go ahead and get a vasectomy. But a few months later, your wife has a surprise—she’s pregnant.
Questions emerge: How? When? What the..?
Before you accuse her of cheating or file a malpractice suit against your doctor, let’s take a look at how it could have happened.
A vasectomy is a simple and common procedure which approximately 500,000 men in the United States undergo each year. However, it’s not foolproof. One in every 238 vasectomies (0.4%) fails for different reasons.
The good news is you can take measures to ensure you don’t get your wife pregnant after vasectomy.
HOW VASECTOMIES PREVENT PREGNANCY
During the procedure the doctor cuts a tube called the vas deferens so that sperm can’t travel to the semen and become available for ejaculation.
After a vasectomy, sperm are still produced, but because they are unable to move through the severed vas deferens, they die and are absorbed by the body.
The procedure doesn’t affect your sex drive, potency, or ability to produce testosterone. In fact, some men report having an improved sex drive after a vasectomy.
GETTING PREGNANT AFTER VASECTOMY
So how can sperm find their way to the egg after you get snipped?
There are two primary causes:
Sperm can live in the vas deferens for several months after a vasectomy. It takes about 20 ejaculations (or about three months) for sperm to be completely flushed out of your system. So you must use some other form of birth control initially to reduce chances of pregnancy after vasectomy.
Though it’s rare, sometimes blocked sperm tubes reconnect after the procedure, which is called recanalization.
This is more common early on after the vasectomy when scar tissue blocking the tubes is softer and easier to be penetrated. Sperm hit the blockage and create tiny passages to move through. Though the vas deferens don’t actually reconnect, sperm find a way to the other side.
Late recanalization is very rare, but the tube ends can grow and connect years after the procedure, reversing the vasectomy.
PREVENTION AND MONITORING
The best way to prevent a post-vasectomy pregnancy is to have protected sex initially following the procedure and check your sperm count after three months.
Most doctors recommend checking your semen at least twice after the three-month period to ensure there’s no live sperm. However, studies show that only two-thirds of men provide semen samples after three months. You can avoid a doctor’s office visit by using SpermCheck Vasectomy at home to monitor your sterility status.
So if you’ve had a vasectomy, don’t ditch the contraception too quickly. Keep tabs on your sperm count so you don’t get any unexpected surprises.
Don’t want to deal with those visits to the doctor following your vasectomy? Check your samples right at home with this simple sperm test kit.