What if the man has had a vasectomy?

I keep receiving comments lately from women whose male partnerns have had vasectomies–surgery to prevent them from producing sperm. A vasectomy is intended to be permanent birth control. But people don’t always see it as permanent. The guy can just have surgery to reverse it. Right?

It’s not that simple, my friends. Here’s why.

1) If a man has had a vasectomy, at some point he was sure enough that he didn’t want any children–or any more–that he was willing to have surgery to make it permanent. That’s pretty darned sure. Maybe, as in my husband Fred’s situation, he had no idea that his first marriage would end and along would come a younger wife still wanting babies. In our case, we talked about having the surgery reversed, but Fred finally admitted he really didn’t want to start over with another baby. If I had had older kids, it would have been okay with him, but he found the whole baby and toddler thing exhausting and didn’t want to do it again when he was pushing 50. Your man may be younger and more interested in having children, but never forget that at some point, he was sure he didn’t want to get anyone pregnant.

2) Reversal doesn’t always work. The surgery to reverse the vasectomy is much more complicated than the original vasectomy surgery, and it’s not always successful. There may be blockages or the man may have developed antibodies to his own sperm. The longer it has been since the vasectomy, the worse the odds. If it has been less than three years, chances of getting pregnant are better than 50 percent, but after 10 years, only about 30 percent result in pregnancy.

3) It costs a lot of money, estimated $5,000-$15,000, and most insurance companies consider it an elective procedure which they don’t cover.

I hate to bring more grief to people who are already suffering over the possibility of not having children, but we need to face reality. When you hook up with a man who has had a vasectomy, he is infertile and he may or may not be willing or able to change that. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. People do have the surgery and make babies. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about it.

You can find more information about vasectomy reversals at these websites.



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4 thoughts on “What if the man has had a vasectomy?

  1. Thank you for this post and all of the information. Sue, did you feel second best, that he gave his first wife children, and no matter how much it meant to you, he just couldn't give you children? (I know you had written that if you had fought harder, he would have tried for a baby with you.) I know that while my boyfriend had thought of getting a vasectomy reversal. He doesn't want to, and I'm usually fine with that, as long as he will want to adopt with me. I think those of us wanting babies should consider what would happen if you did get pregnant but had a miscarriage, or there was something severely wrong with your baby? Would you feel like the time, energy, money, and spirit were wasted? Or was just having a shot worth it?I just ordered your book from Amazon today- I can't wait to read it._AB_


  2. Thank you, AB. No, I didn't feel second best. He always made me feel like number 1. I knew he loved me, and I realized too late that I should have fought harder.
    Here's something else to consider. Fred and his first wife adopted their first two kids because they could not conceive. The doctors never figured out why. After 17 years, she became pregnant and their younger son was born. So it's entirely possible that Fred might not have been able to make me pregnant even without the vasectomy.
    And yes, there is always the chance that something will go wrong with the baby.
    Thanks for ordering the book. I hope you like it.


  3. Hello,This is my current situation. My partner has three children from a previous relationship. He is older and has had a vasectomy, which was performed 18 years ago. When I first met him, he was very upfront about this and told me that he was not interested in having more children. At the time, I was very into having a relationship with him and decided that not having children was not a dealbreaker to me. However, I did struggle with my decision quite a lot over the course of our relationship because I was very afraid that I would regret my decision. I battled with myself nonstop. I was very happy with him and felt cared for, but I felt as though I was setting myself up for a lot of heartache. As our relationship progressed, I confessed to him my dilemma. He was very understanding and told me that if I really wanted to have a child, then we could try with IVF. We made some appointments with the fertility doctors and were all set to move forward when he suddenly backed out completely from the plan. I was hurt and upset by his sudden change of heart but not at all surprised. He had told me after all at the beginning of our relationship that he was not interested in having more children.I took a risk getting involved with him. Like you mentioned, Sue, men who have had vasectomies are infertile. I do love him, but the pain of not having children is still real and present. I deal with it every day. I have trouble thinking about the future, seeing his children grow up and start families of their own. I feel as though I am going to be always tortured with family events, new children all the time, I can't escape it. I almost wish he didn't have kids at all. It’s hard, that's all I can say. Thanks for reading!


  4. Hi Danielle,
    I hear you. It is going to keep hurting, not every minute, but often. Just last night, I watched a friend hug her little boy and felt my heart crack again. But the thing is, you knew this from the beginning, and if you really love him, you have to accept not having your own children as part of the deal. I hope you can find a way to love his children and any other kids in your life and find peace with this. Thanks for sharing this with us. I know you're not the only one in this situation.


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