At Avenue Women’s Center, we answer all kinds of questions, many from women who are hoping not to be pregnant. It certainly happens that a caller will share: “My period is late… my partner had a vasectomy… but could I be pregnant?”
Any time a woman is worried about a possible pregnancy, she is invited to visit Avenue Women’s Center. With four Chicagoland locations, we provide free and accurate pregnancy tests. And beyond test results, if someone is facing an unplanned pregnancy, we are here to compassionately walk alongside her, providing information, services, and support as she makes her pregnancy decisions.
So what is the likelihood of getting pregnant following a vasectomy? The answer is…….essentially zero—provided the procedure was done properly and your partner followed carefully all of the post-surgery directions intended to guarantee the success of the operation. The success rate for these procedures is over 99.8%. However, for you to feel assured of that success, you should probably know a bit about the procedure and the directions he was instructed to follow.
Sperm is produced in the testes of the male and is added to the seminal fluid during ejaculation. The ducts that carry the sperm during that process are called the vas deferens. Typically, the procedure used to interrupt the flow of sperm and prohibit insemination involves cutting those ducts—hence the name vasectomy. However, several other techniques can be used to block the flow of sperm, most often by clamping the ducts.
The weeks following the surgery are particularly important because it takes up to 20 ejaculations (and possibly as much as three months) before the semen is completely free of sperm. So, until the sperm count is shown to be zero, other forms of birth control need to be used. These counts are most often done in a clinician’s office, although home tests are also available. Most pregnancies after a vasectomy occur because these post-surgery directions are not followed properly.
Vasectomy is intended to be a permanent method of birth control. For this reason, men seeking the procedure are typically counseled to assure that their decision has been carefully considered. It is sometimes possible to reverse the procedure, but the required surgery is complicated and expensive. Some other surgical techniques for interrupting sperm flow are easier to reverse, but they also tend to be less effective at preventing pregnancy.
Although we acknowledge that the likelihood of getting pregnant after a vasectomy may be “essentially zero,” it is not zero. We encourage women to listen to their bodies and respect their personal concerns. If you are worrying about a possible pregnancy, please come to Avenue Women’s Center. Our offices are in Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, and Wood Dale, Illinois, and we are here to serve you. Please contact us today.
- WebMD. (2015, May). Vasectomy. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/vasectomy-14387
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.