1 06 2012

(this post has been written and edited several times over the last few years, over different blogs and even private journals. however, it still fits and here is the latest incarnation of it. please note that these are my experiences, and not necessarily facts in every case. your case should be discussed with your doctor.)

I am so angry at our situation that I cannot even begin to express my feelings properly. I’m angry that we can’t just TTC like normal people thanks to the fact that my husband had a vasectomy years ago, and the reversal was not very successful.

Long story short- X and his girlfriend found out his senior year of high school that she was pregnant.  They got married, and moved into his parents basement after he graduated. Shortly after, their first child was born. 5 months later, X joined the military, wanting what was best for his family. Right after he finished basic training and technical schooling, his wife found out she was pregnant again. Their second was born just shy of two years after their first. X was 20, his wife 19. She was done, and when the baby was 5 months old, told X that he needed to get a vasectomy or their marriage was over because she didn’t want any more children. What makes me angriest in this story is what comes next- A worried X, trying to save his marriage, went and saw his doctor. Two days later, he had a vasectomy done at TWENTY years old. With no counseling. No warnings about the odds of reversals being successful. NADA.

There’s a lot more that happens in there, but a year later, after coming home from deployment, his marriage was completely over. Even more happened after that, but the kicker is this. You see, stupid ex has now had another child. She was able to go on and have more kids at 23, because she hadn’t gotten fixed.

X eventually met me, and since we wanted to have kids together, had his vasectomy reversed. Our surgeon let us know that due to the time that had passed since his initial surgery and the type that had been done(not just clips, but cut, burn, and clips), our odds of the surgery being successful were slim. Even if it did succeed, we’d be looking at 18 months or so before things scarred back over. We went ahead with the surgery knowing the odds, but hoping for once we’d be lucky.

Obviously, we’ve not been so lucky. We had a few good months of great counts post surgery, and then dismal ever since. Things have not scarred completely back over, but they are bad enough that every RE has told us they’d do TESE if we do IVF to get sperm. Other than that, our only option would be to try a second reversal, going straight to the testes and bypassing the originally cut completely, but the odds are not likely for it to work very well.We haven’t talked closely to a urologist about this in a while since we decided to go the donor sperm route.

This isn’t the only story I’ve heard in our years in the military about doctors who hand out vasectomys like bandaids. I’ve heard of so many that allow patients to have them done with no counseling, at a young age and without good reason. Our local military facility has recently adopted the rule of 30 years of age or 3+ children, along with two counseling sessions required for the procedure to take place. I’m glad that these guidelines are finally being put in place so that someone else might be spared going through what we have had to deal with.

Some words of advice for those who are considering a vasectomy with the thought of a possible reversal someday:

Vasectomy is a very easy surgery. You’ll be tender for a few days, and have a few followups to ensure your count is clear, but that’s it. A reversal is MUCH more intense. 4 weeks of no sex, usually 1-2 weeks out of work, several followups to ensure your count is back, and a potential time factor. The closer to the initial procedure the reversal is done, the better the odds of success. After 5 years, your odds start to go down drastically. Post reversal, there can be scarring that forms that is painful and requires further surgeries as well. Antibodies can form, causing further complications, and the quality can have gone down due to lack of functionality over the years.

If you think you are done, but are not 1000% sure, get an IUD, use condoms, use BCP, anything other than having surgery performed with the option of reversing it years later. Most insurance companies will NOT cover the reversal, so that is an additional expense to consider, and they can get quite pricy. I really strongly recommend doing something temporary for at least one year, if not two to five years to be SURE you are done before you take that final step, because it seems like more and more people are regretting this decision each year.




3 responses

1 06 2012

What a great post, which speaks so well to what hangs heavy in my heart every day. Clearly I have my own fertility issues, since I don’t respond to Clomid and have crazy cycles, but had DH not been snipped (also at the insistence of his batshit crazy then-wife) then things would be a whole different ballgame. We have been married FOUR years and only got the reversal in September.
Anyway, thank you for posting this. I hope you have a good weekend!

1 06 2012
Elizabeth M

This is good advice. There’s also the possibility of antibodies! One of my closest friends’ husbands had to get a reversal done, and even with really good counts and 5 IUIs, the antibodies were so strong that they needed IVF to succeed (their 2nd attempt was successful.) Vasectomies should NOT be looked at as easy and need to have lots of thought put into them, just like you said. Sorry you’ve had to go through this. :/ It’s the pits.

4 06 2012
Fiona McIntyre

I’m shocked at no counselling etc for a vasectomy at such a young age! Sending you ((((hugs))))

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