Vasectomies are surgeries done to make a man infertile, and are used as a permanent form of birth control. As a method of birth control it is very effective. For a variety of reasons you and your partner may be choosing to try to have children after your partner has had a vasectomy.
In a vasectomy, the vas deferens is severed to prevent sperm from traveling out of the urethra. This can be done as an office procedure or as an outpatient surgery, as it's a minor procedure. After about 12 ejaculations post-surgery, the physician will perform a sperm count to see if the surgery was a success.
There are a few options available to regain fertility after a vasectomy. Microsurgery to try to repair the vas deferens is one option. The goal of the microsurgery is to make the vas deferens patent again so that sperm can flow freely through the reproductive tract for ejaculation.
If successful, the surgery to reverse the vasectomy will be all that is needed, and normal sexuality activity and attempts to conceive can go forward without much other intervention. Though the success rates of vasectomy reversals vary widely, the biggest factor is usually the length of time between the surgery and the repair.
There are also techniques to remove sperm directly from the testicles. This can be done through fine needle aspiration and the removal of testicular tissue. The problem with these methods is that they result in a limited number of sperm and require that the woman go through the in vitro fertilization process.
Male factor infertility is a very important part of the infertility testing and treatment process. Since the testing and treatment of the male partner is usually easier and much less invasive than testing the female, it is also usually one of the beginning steps. Knowing your options and potential causes can help you figure out what your next step is in the process of conceiving.