So this is our story of a vasectomy reversal and subsequent pregnancy.
In February 2010, my husband had a reversal from Dr. Cary Leverett in New Braunfels, Texas. He is one of a few low-cost reversal providers in the US- he preforms them out of his out-patient clinic and under local/concious sedation, so that keeps costs down. He and his staff were awesome. He provides this service as part of his Christian ministry -he belongs to a church that doesn't believe in sterilization- but does not discriminate against patients who have different religious beliefs, and isn't really overbearing with it or anything. His staff is awesome and very kind and helpful. I was really happy with the whole experience with them. It was $3000 total, with a $500 deposit due to schedule it. They are also open to working with you and making installments before your surgery date. His website is here: http://www.reversals.com/about.html
I HIGHLY recommend finding a specialist who ONLY does microsurgical reversals, as opposed to just finding a urologist to do it. This is a very very delicate procedure preformed on a tube of tissue smaller than a strand of angel hair pasta. You want someone who does this and only this. Look for someone who only does 2-3 reversals a day, and who has been certified in microsurgical technique (ie, didn't just take a class over the weekend). Being published is good, having their results published (as Cary Leverett's have) is GREAT. There is another low-cost surgeon in Oklahoma, and two vas reversal centers that I also looked into in Arizona and New York. I chose Leverett because my family lives nearby so we could stay with them while he recovered, and because I liked his website the best and he had what I was looking for in terms of professional experience, training, and technique.
If you're looking into a vas reversal, you are probably despairing over the 50% sucessful statistic. I cannot tell you how many sleepless nights that number caused me. That is VERY outdated and is not representative of the new microsurgery techniques. The odds of having sperm return to the semen (patency) after a reversal now is more like 90%, and the odds of pregnancy are around 75% within two years. This can be very variable. It depends on what kind of vasectomy your husband had (if they only cut the vas defrens vs. cauterizing or knotting them), what his internal anatomy is like (if he has longer vs. shorter tubes), how long ago it was, how fertile YOU are, and what kind of health you are both in.
To give you an idea, my husband was on the lower end of the "ideal" scale. He was over 40, the vasectomy was 8 years old, he's overweight, and he had a cauterized vas. However, the surgeon told us to be very hopeful, that he had minimal scar tissue in the tubes, and that he thought our chances of conception were good. Additionally, I'm 20 years younger than he is, and fertile as a rabbit. So that gave us a good reason to hope.
His recovery from the vas was complicated. He didn't have very much post-surgical pain and said the procedure itself was much less painful than the original vas. However, once he went back to work (he's a computer repairman for a hospital so he's up and down and walking up stairs all day) he got VERY severe swelling and bruising. We're talking two grapefruits hanging halfway to his knees here. He took 1000mgs of ibuprofen 3 times a day, lots of Vitamin E to prevent scar tissue, applied arnica gel basically from his thighs to his belly button, and we made a sling out of a towel to prop his testicles up so that the fluid could drain. He kept ice on them almost continually for about six weeks. He was back to normal within two months. However, this was very unusual and likely due to my husband's other health problems (autoimmune disorders and being overweight) and his physically strenuous job. Most men are back to their normal activities within two weeks. If you need to, this surgery qualifies under FMLA if he needs the time off. Contact the HR department directly *before* he has surgery to arrange things. If his boss is being a dick about giving him light duty or time off, going in his office in person and crying about how if he doesn't recovery well from this surgery it will ruin your chances to have a family works well. =P Also, make cookies or something for his coworkers who are picking up the slack. They were suddenly more cheerful about having to lift all the boxes after I made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and butter pecan brownies.
We waited about nine months before TTC- I got a Mirena IUD two months before the vas so I could adjust to it and make sure it would work for me before we would need to worry about birth control. I had the IUD removed in September.
We conceived on our second cycle of trying- I had one right after I got the IUD but it was very scanty (probably from the Mirena keeping my lining thin, it hadn't built back up yet), and then on our second one I was out of town during ovulation, and then on my third cycle- Big fat positive!
I NEVER thought I would conceive so quickly. We didn't get a sperm analysis done, since there wasn't even really anything we could do at that point- we couldn't afford IVF or any kind of assisted reproduction, so I didn't want to bum myself out if it was bad. I just took my prenatals, charted my cervical discharge to see when I was ovulating, and timed intercourse, and then WHAM. Pregnant! On the SECOND TRY!
One nice side effect of the reversal is that it's MUCH easier for him to climax now. So if you're trying to wheedle your guy into going under the knife, that might be a positive for him! *winkwink*
We thought a lot about whether we should get a reversal, or a sperm donor, or do some kind of sperm retrieval. For most people, the reversal is the easiest and cheapest way to go. Even if the sperm count is low, you get WAY more sperm per cycle just being able to have intercourse every other day in your cycle than you ever would through ICSI, or from a one-time artificial insemination. You also get more chances to try- for free! It was also important to me to feel like we did this the normal, natural way. Having to go in a doctor's office for hormone treatments and lots of needles and things just didn't seem like as much fun. And I wanted to have my husband's baby. I would have paid ten times as much money for this experience. It's worth the money. It usually works.
Additionally, if the reversal didn't really "work", most surgeons will go back for a reduced fee and repreform it. This is still usually better in terms of successful conception and cost-effectiveness than going to IVF. They can clean out scar tissue that may have formed, or directly attach the far end vas defrens to the epidyimus, where the sperm is made. Sometimes a "blowout" occurs where the epidydimal side of the vas has ruptured, and that portion of the tube is no longer viable. The success rate for that is the same as a regular vas reversal, as long as the other side of the tube is long enough to reach.
I hope this helps anyone who is where I was two years ago, desperate for another baby and crying herself to sleep at night because she wants a baby with her husband. GOOD LUCK!
Sure! Here is a list of all the low-cost surgeons (again, some are affiliated with the Quiverfull movement, but most don't discriminate, and afaik Dr. Wilson doesn't) http://www.blessedarrows.org/doctors.htm
Oh Rose! Thank you for this!!
My dh is scheduled for his reversal Mar 4 and I'm starting to panic a little. We didn't think he'd get in for at least another 3 months but a cancellation opened up this spot so naturally we took it. :)
We started this journey jan 2010 and its so great to be at this place, but like you, the numbers are freaking me out. Hearing your success story makes me feel very comfortable with the upcoming surgery. :)
We started the same journey in Jan 2011 - my husband had his vasectomy reversal yesterday. It was 100% sucessful, no complications and both tubes were reattached.
Like Rose - my huband is 40, over weight, and his original vasectomy was 7 years ago. I am 39 though - and this is my last chance to have a baby. We can start trying in 2 weeks.
Make sure you find someone who does nothing but vas reversals, or does at least 30+ a month and find out their success rate. We chose Mr Ducan Harriss in Nottingham, UK. He only charged £2,531 - my husband was home late evening and we got a personal phone call today to update us on the op. We are abolutely delighted!
Mr Harriss boasts a 92% success rate and has performed over 500 of these proceedures over the last couple of years. That's impressive results! If you're going for this jsut do your research and make sure you get the best.
I'm also reading Toni Weschler's book 'Taking charge of your fertility' - it's a real eye opener. At my age I especially need to know when I'm ovulating and using Toni's rules of temperature taking, cervical fluid and cervix checks I find it dead easy to chart and monitor these. I've also been taking pre-pregnancy 'trying to conceive' vitamins as well as eating very healthily and getting fitter and doing pelvic floor exercises in preparation.
Hope this helps anyone going through this. It IS possible. I'll post any news as soon as it happens!
I'm 37 and my dh is 44. He's in great health, me? Meh, not so much, lol. I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I'm working on it. :) He had his V 8 years ago - cut and cauterized. What kind did your dh have, Beth?
I've been reading tcoyf and charting since last summer. So far it seems I've got a good pattern going - clear ovulation and a lp of 15 days. I just ordered our fertilaid yesterday, so that should be here soon and I can get started.
So, may I ask you some questions? How long did the surgery take? Was he put under completely?
Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!
I was told by our surgeon that when dealing with a cut and cauterized vas, a lot of it depends on how short the tubes were cut in the first place, which is pretty much impossible to know until he gets in there. But, it's not a big deal to just shorten things a bit.
My husband's surgery took about two hours from start to finish, and he was put under conscious sedation. He didn't feel any pain once the initial incision was made- he actually fell asleep! Ask if you can sit at his head and talk to him- my husband said that made a really big difference. If not, he can bring headphones and listen to music or something too.
The op took about 2 hours. He had a general anaesthetic so was put out completely while I went out for a pub meal! They wouldn't let me in obviously. I think if he'd been given a local he would have run lol!
Mr Harriss asked us what procedure he had with his original vas - we weren't too sure, but he said it didn't matter - he was so incredibly experienced and knew how to overcome any hurdle. After we learned that both his tubes had been cut and quarterised. THis wasn't a problem at all and both tubes were successfully reattached.
My fella now has a scrotal support he wears in the day, and then tight pants at night. That is so very important. It's been 2 days now - he is swollen and sore, but he's ok. The first shower was a little scary as he pulled off the gauze and it bled quite a bit. WIth new gauze though it soon stopped and he's been fine today.
It's dead hard to get fit when you're not used to a healthy lifestyle. I've bought myself a liquidiser and lots of fruit and yoghurt so I can make smoothies that I know I'll enjoy. I've also joined my local gym which has a pool, sauna and steam room so I can work out in the pool, then relax after. It jsut doesn't seem like such a chore to get fit then.
If you want to look at Mr Harriss's website, it is http://www.yourvasectomyreversal.co.uk/thesurgeon.html - there's lots of advice around the whole proceedure and has been a depth of information for us both,
Go for it hon!
Thank you for your replies ladies!
We're booked in for March 4, cant wait!
Dh likes to sleep in the nude, so I think I'll pick up some tighty whiteys for him to sleep in as well as the scrotal support.
Dh will be put completely under, and he's very happy about that, lol. We've been told it should take about 4 hours - and thats including the recovery time in the clinic. I think I'll bring my ipod and hang out during the surgery. I'm sure I'm going to be on pins and needles the whole time. This waiting sucks, my head keeps going in circles thinking of worst case scenarios, yk? I'm so worried about something going wrong during surgery - my dh on the other hand, is so laid back about it! :lol But, thats how we work together - I freak out, he's calm. ;) I haven't even gotten to the "what if we're not successful" worry yet.........
So, besides support and tight underpants, what else should I be stocking up on now? I keep hearing about ibuprofen....what else? Some gauze?
2 weeks and 1 day until surgery!!!
Ibuprofen defo - and plenty of guaze - but make sure it's not adhesice LOL! Also - soap such as 'Simple' that is gentle to clean the area twice a say after too. Body sweat can cause infection - we've found Simple to be better for him.
It's day 5 since ours now - the bruising is starting to come out now, but the swelling is going down. He's not had to use any ice packs although I've got some handy - the scrotal supports with tight pants in the day and tight pants at night seem to have done the trick. He can't handle the scrotal support at night as it's so uncomfortable to wear. But the discomfort wearing it in the first week makes the recovery so much quicker.
Loose fitting trousers to wear on the way home too - and for the first week maybe.
He's even getting horny now lol! Sex and all contact stuff with his balls is not alllowed for 2 weeks though - that included things like horse riding and motorcycling much to his disgruntlement! Mr Harriss has really done a great job.
All the best!
Oh wow Laura, that's great news!! Congrats!! That is fantastic!
(ETA...sorry for the seemingly random post...I've been stalking this thread as someone near and dear to me is thinking about a reversal :) )
Trish~mama to Kaelie 5/03 and Amelia 12/13, surro mama to Aidan 2/08 & Ellyss 6/09,
That is fabulous news Laura - congratulations. We've been trying for 3 months but nothing yet. I was 7 days late on my period last month, took a pregnancy test which was negative and then had a really heavy priod. I was gutted, but we start again in a week or so. My husband is having his semen tested this Weds - and we should know the results in a week.
We're having our first holiday this Saturday in two years - 2 and a half weeks camping at the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races. Can't wait - who knows, a hol may be just what we need to relax and conceive.
A January baby heh! What a way to start the year - brilliant. I'm well pleased for you, keep us posted won't you.
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