For a man, the process to undergo a vasectomy is usually a timely one. Men or couples who are interested in having a vasectomy are counseled so that they understand that having a vasectomy is permanent.
Vasectomy: The Procedure
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure in which the vas deferens is severed to prevent sperm from being released when a man ejaculates. The vas deferens are the tubes that connect the testicles to the urethra. When men choose to have a vasectomy, they may be comfortable in their choice to never father any more children. The possibilities are endless, but there are times when men or couples regret this decision later.
Frequently, prior to the vasectomy procedure, men are offered the chance to store semen for the future in the event that they change their minds. Some men take advantage of this, but others decline. Cost is usually a factor in this decision. Storing frozen semen can cost 600 dollars or more a year.
If a child is sought after a vasectomy, there is a possibility that a procedure can be performed. This procedure is referred to as a vasectomy reversal. A vasectomy reversal involves re-entering the testicles and creating a new pathway in the vas deferens so that sperm can once again travel to the urethra. Vasectomy reversals are expensive, ranging between $10,000 and $12,000 just to cover surgical fees. Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of vasectomy reversals. It is also not clear the success rate for a reversal. Many factors affect the outcome. These include; age, health, number of years since vasectomy performed, and if the testicles are still producing sperm.
Even if all the odds are in your favor, there is no guarantee a pregnancy will result. Another obstacle to consider is finding a trained physician who can carry out the procedure. While vasectomy reversals are becoming more common, finding a doctor who can perform one can require a great deal of travel. This could possibly mean traveling to another state. Another disadvantage for couples seeking vasectomy reversals is that after a child is conceived, future birth control methods will have to be used to prevent future pregnancies.
In Vitro Fertilization
Another option for couples wishing to have a child after a vasectomy is In Vitro Fertilization with Sperm Aspiration. In vitro fertilization or IVF involves the extraction of ripe eggs from a woman to be fertilized with sperm in a laboratory and then implanted in the woman after fertilization,
The procedure of aspirating sperm from a testicle is relatively minor and causes little discomfort to the man. During the procedure, millions of sperm can be aspirated which is sufficient for laboratory fertilization, but not sufficient for use for other fertility methods such s IUI or Intrauterine insemination.
Women undergoing IVF require fertility medications to control the timing of egg ripening and increase the number of eggs to be released in one cycle. Eggs are removed through a minor surgical procedure. After the eggs are retrieved, they are joined with the sperm to hopefully cause fertilization. After proof of fertilization is shown, the fertilized eggs, now considered embryos, are implanted in the woman, generally one to six days later. The woman is carefully monitored for early pregnancy symptoms and blood tests to monitor hormones.
On average, approximately 4 to 6 embryos are implanted in a woman during IVF. This number can change depending on the woman’s circumstance. This is primarily done because there is no way of knowing how many, if any, embryos will continue to a viable pregnancy. IVF treatments greatly increase the chances of delivering multiple births and other complications. The success rate of IVF depends on several factors including a woman’s age and health at the time of the treatment.
A disadvantage to IVF is insurance coverage. Most insurance coverage does not include and sometimes specifically excludes fertility treatments. The cost of IVF depends on where you go, your age and health, and how many cycles you undergo. Many insurance companies will not cover the required medications which could cost up to $3000 for one cycle. Many fertility clinics do offer financial programs though. If vasectomy reversal or IVF with sperm aspiration is not an option, couples can also use donor sperm and/or donor eggs to achieve pregnancy.
Both vasectomy reversal and IVF with sperm aspiration have their advantages and disadvantages. Vasectomy reversals seem to come with a smaller out of pocket cost, but finding a qualified physician to carry out the procedure can be difficult. IVF is more frequently performed but could lead to multiple pregnancies or no pregnancies at all.