The vasectomy on/off switch. Really?
No question this is a weird combination of topics, but as is so often the case, there is a connection. A recent paper* published in the journal “Sleep”(why don’t we in male fertility have a journal called “Testicle”?) shows that when mice underwent an experiment to mimic sleep apnea with the associated drop in oxygen levels, their sperm quality and the ability to get female mice pregnant dropped significantly. Yes, I know this is in mice, but the essence of the information is critical and applicable to humans, especially in my vasectomy reversal practice. We do see a fair number of men who have sleep apnea, often not treated.
Men that have had a vasectomy may have an increased risk of advanced or even lethal prostate cancer, a new study by Harvard epidemiologists suggests...or do they? In fact this is exactly what was suggested back in the mid-1990s by different Harvard epidemiologists. That study, which was shot down as misleading, continues to cause lots of stress. In fact, many men who contact us at our vasectomy reversal center, are worried about developing prostate cancer because of what they remembered being reported.
Once again I read an interesting story in the news where they incorrectly note that vasectomy reversals are expensive, painful and don't work. Despite decades of trying to set the record straight and even with recent publications in the most prestigious fertility journals, these mistruths just seem to keep popping up over and over again. As a full-time vasectomy reversal doctor, this is especially upsetting to me for a number reasons:
It is good that this is hitting the news so that people will be aware of this fact but unfortunately this information is not new or groundbreaking - we have known for many years that sperm counts can be hurt by the electromagnetic fields that come from cell phones. In fact, here at ICVR, our full time vasectomy reversal center, we have told all of our vasectomy reversal patients for many, many years to keep cell phones away from their front pockets.
At first glance you would think this is a good thing - being able to know more about yourself, specifically your sperm count. And many tens of thousands of men, I am sure, will buy and use this home sperm count test. Unfortunately they, like so many others, will be making a huge mistake by incorrectly assuming that normal numbers mean all is well and low numbers suggest poor fertility. The truth is that a semen analysis is NOT a test of male fertility. It is a test of only 2 things - sperm production and sperm delivery. A semen analysis is a good way to make an educated guess about a male's fertility status, but it is not precise and many men with low counts have no problems fathering children. Likewise, we see men with great numbers who are simply unable to make a baby. There is so much more to fertility and conception that sperm counts.
This is common question raised by many couples considering vasectomy reversal. The answer -yes, of course you can. It is important to remember that a well performed vasectomy reversal by a true expert is about 1/3 the cost of in-vitro fertilization with ICSI and more effective. If, after having you single child you are no longer interested in fathering any more children, then you can easily have a vasectomy without any additional problems or risks. In fact, vasectomies are commonly performed on men who, after their reversal, are done and ready to move back to the “no more children” phase of life.
Pain after vasectomy is a rare and devastating side effect from a vasectomy. Almost without exception, every single vasectomy pain patient whom I talk with tells me how their doctors repeatedly told them that their pain was "not real", was really "psychosomatic" or was from an emotional need for attention or a "drug-seeking behavior." In essence, they were being told that their pain was not really there and that in fact they were crazy as there were no physical causes of pain after vasectomy. There are many post-vasectomy pain patients that are even told that Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome (PVPS) doesn't exist, and so go far as to tell the patient that they have never heard of such a syndrome. Yet this syndrome of severe or chronic pain after vasectomy is well known and clearly described in the medical literature, and has been so for many years. The problem is that the doctor you are seeing may not be aware or educated on this rare complication of vasectomy. When I counsel patients about vasectomy, I am always certain to explain in my review of potential complications that PVPS does exist. I explain further to this patient considering a vasectomy than when this pain after vasectomy occurs, it can be severe, unrelenting and life-destroying.
So often I hear or read about patients who are considering our full-time vasectomy reversal only program as well as looking at a number of other vasectomy reversal "experts". When they tell me their final list, I am usually surprised that several of the doctors they are considering are often not vasectomy reversal experts at all. In fact, they are often busy general practice urologists who also do an occasional vasectomy reversal. What these doctors have so smartly done is to create an impressive image of expertise, often with a fancy website that pronounces their expertise and fame.
The out-of-pocket dollar costs for a vasectomy reversal are pretty straight-forward. That's a no-brainer. Assuming the doctor or facility is honest with you up-front, the price you are quoted is what you will pay. But costs for achieving fertility after a vasectomy through a microsurgical vasectomy reversal can be more than just money.