More men are deciding they want to have kids after getting a vasectomy. Can the sterilization procedure really be reversed?
Of the 500,000 people every year who get vasectomies, about 5 to 10 percent change their minds after the fact. The procedure, which sterilizes men by severing the tube supplying sperm to the urethra, was once considered a permanent operation. And in fact, doctors still generally discourage undoing a vasectomy. But, as MSNBC reports, technological advances and expanding coverage for vasectomy reversals among health insurance companies are leading to a rise in "unsnipping":
"Insurance companies are beginning to cover vasectomy reversals because the success rate of reversals is as good -- if not better -- than in vitro fertilizations (for women), in terms of live pregnancies," said Dr. Natan Bar-Chama, a male infertility specialist and urologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York.
With the renewed interest in the tongue twistingly-named vasovasostomy, it's worth exploring just how these things work. Despite the common belief that you cannot splice once you've sliced, there are actually two ways patients can have their vas deferens restored to their former, intact state.
The first method is relatively simple. It basically involves reattaching one end of the cut tube to the other, and using tiny, microscopic sutures to hold them together. There are different ways to accomplish the task, including a simplified technique known as "4x4" that Indian surgeons pioneered in 2010, but the mechanics are roughly the same.