More than half a million men undergo vasectomy each year in the USA, which makes it one of the most common urological procedures. Vasectomy or male sterilization is a form of permanent birth control that requires cutting, tying, blocking or cauterizing the vas deferens in a man’s reproductive organs. Although it is a very effective form of birth control, it is not always failproof. Most studies put the fail rate at one in every 1000 cases, which is actually a great rate. Below are the three key reasons responsible for that one failure in every 1000 cases.
1. The surgeon’s error
Vasectomy is a rather simple procedure that takes an experienced doctor between five and twenty minutes. However, just like every other kind of surgery, it will require both knowledge and experience. Lack of experience can in some instances lead to an incorrect identification of the tube that carries sperms (vas deferens).
The vas deferens exists in the scrotum where there are many other structures such as nerves and vessels. And this makes it possible for the surgeon to miss the sperm tube. Missing the tube means that the flow of sperms will not be affected, which in turn means that the man will remain perfectly capable of conceiving. Also, some doctors may fail to block both sides of the sperm tubes.
Going to a surgeon that specializes in doing vasectomy is one way to ensure that you get someone with enough experience.
2. Having unprotected sex shortly after the surgery
One of the main reasons why pregnancies may occur even after a vasectomy is the fact that some couples will have unprotected sex within a few weeks after the procedure. It is important to know that even after a vasectomy there are still some live sperms downstream from where the surgeon blocks the tube. Having sex before flushing out these sperms can result in pregnancy.
In fact, to avoid unwanted pregnancy after vasectomy, experts recommend that couples should wait for about three months (or 20-25 ejaculations) before engaging in unprotected sex. Also, specialists advise couples to go for a sperm analysis after these three months just to verify that there are no sperms in the ejaculate.
Recanalization is another factor that can make a vasectomy fail, but it is very rare. It is a situation where the sides of the sperm tubes reconnect and thus allow some sperm to flow through. The likelihood of this failure will depend on how the surgeon blocked the tube, and it can only occur in the first few months when the scar tissues in the blockage are still soft. Experienced doctors, however, can use techniques such as cautery (total burning) to eliminate the risk of recanalization.