Infertility is defined as unsuccessful pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse. If you are over age 35 the time is decreased to six months. Memorial Urology Services offers the opportunity to discuss treatments for both infertility and fertility.
Patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and need treatments that may cause infertility may want to have children in the future. Before treatment, we can examine options for sperm or eggs to be collected and stored for future use. This is called sperm or egg banking.
For men who want to be sterile, a vasectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that will prevent them from getting a woman pregnant. This procedure is typically performed in the urologist’s office, but at times can be done as an outpatient at the hospital.
The vas deferens are the tubes that carry the sperm to the penis from the testes. During this procedure, the vas deferens are cut to keep the sperm from traveling to the penis. The testes continue to produce sperm after this procedure but the sperm have nowhere to go, so they die and are absorbed by the body. The prostate continues to make seminal fluid so you will continue to ejaculate, but there will not be any sperm in it.
Patients do not have any changes in hormone levels or male characteristics after this procedure, and erections are typically not affected.
After this procedure, it is important to know that there will still be some remaining sperm in your semen. It is important to use some other form of birth control until your semen has the absence of sperm.
You will be asked to provide two semen specimens post-vasectomy, typically four to six weeks apart to confirm the absence of sperm. This test is generally done after there have been at least 10 to 20 post-vasectomy ejaculations.
For men who have had a vasectomy, but wish to attempt to father a child, Memorial Urology Services offers a surgical procedure called a Vasectomy Reversal.
This is a procedure which repairs the vas deferens that have been cut and separated during a vasectomy to render a man sterile. By reconnecting the vas deferens, sperm are free to flow through and out of the body and may make you able to father a child. The restoration of your fertility is dependent upon the length of time it has been since your vasectomy.
This procedure is typically done as an outpatient. You are taken into the operating room and anesthesia is given so that you are asleep. Most men have two vas deferens, one on the left, and one on the right. The surgeon works on each separately through an very tiny incision made in the scrotum.
After surgery, you will be taken to the postoperative recovery unit. You will continue to be observed per your doctor’s orders until you are stable enough to be discharged.
You must have someone with you to drive you home. Anesthesia can make you very drowsy and sometimes forgetful. It is unsafe for you to operate any motor vehicle, or make any important decisions on the day you have had surgery/anesthesia.
Before discharge, you will be given verbal and written instructions on how to manage your health at home. You may have some prescriptions for new medications that you will need to get from the pharmacy.
Written discharge instructions usually tell you to contact your provider’s office to make a follow-up appointment in about two weeks. You, or someone staying with you, could call and make this appointment the day you get home or the next day.
Depending on your provider, you can usually contact the office, or the after hours nurses or doctors, to help with any questions you may have once you are home.