Vasectomy Failure

Facts to Know about Vasectomy Failure


One of the most common means of permanent birth control may not be as permanent as one might think; vasectomy failure occurs in 1 out of every 2,000 cases.  While that statistic may not be astounding, it will definitely be upsetting to that one individual in whom the procedure fails.



For those couples who have made the absolute decision that they do not wish to have any more children, permanent birth control is their first consideration.  No longer having the anxiety of possible pregnancy looming overhead brings a sense of freedom to the couple and can definitely increase the quality of their sexual relationship.  Two different methods of permanent birth control can be utilized; for the woman, tubal ligation and for men, vasectomy.  Vasectomy is often the chosen method due to its drastically lower cost and health risk.  The procedure takes only about 10 minutes in the doctor’s office, as opposed to a hospital visit, a slim chance of fatality and a much higher price tag that is associated with tubal ligation.


A major reason that vasectomy failure occurs is due to the patient’s lack of understanding about how the procedure works.  Sperm is carried from the testicles where it is produced to the penis via special “tubes” called the vas deferens.  When a vasectomy is performed, the vas deferens is cut and clamped off to prevent sperm from being conducted through the normal process.  Sperm is still produced following the procedure, but rather than being ejected via the penis, it is instead reabsorbed into the body.  This, however, takes time.  For up to ten weeks after the vasectomy, sperm may still be present in the man’s ejaculate.  Couples who decide upon vasectomy as their means of birth control are counseled not to rely upon the surgery immediately, but to use an alternate method of birth control until a semen sample confirms a zero sperm count.  When this warning is not heeded, pregnancy can still occur after the vasectomy has been performed.



Rarely but still needing to be addressed is the occurrence of a faulty surgery.  Since a surgical or technical error only occurs in less than one percent of reported vasectomy failure cases, it is more likely that pregnancy resulted from a rogue sperm still lurking within the semen.  Doctors will also often recommend that a yearly exam be scheduled to further test the semen for sperm.  There is an extremely slight risk that a spontaneous and unplanned reconnection of the bas deferens could occur, and having the semen tested will ensure that any further chances of failure will be determined.


As a means of permanent birth control, vasectomy is still considered to be a highly successful procedure.  With the actual rate of vasectomy failure remaining at such a low number, doctors consider the method to be fool proof.  It is a safe, effective procedure that provides couples with a way of controlling reproduction in an inexpensive manner.  The vasectomy can be an actual surgery requiring the use of anesthetic and a scalpel, or the patient can opt for the now available non-surgical means.  A scalpel-less procedure uses a special clamp that is pressed into the scrotum where it opens; creating less complications than the surgical method.  Another procedure is the Vasclip implant, in which the vas deferens is not cut or sealed through cauterization or sutures but rather it is clamped closed with the clip.  The Vasclip method has not been proven to be as effective, however, as either surgery or the scalpel free method.


When choosing vasectomy as a permanent means of birth control, it is important to be fully aware of all facts.  Only then will the procedure be as effective and as permanent as expected.