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Vasectomy Reversals on the Rise

​Increasing numbers of American men are undergoing treatment to reverse vasectomies. Once thought to be permanent, a vasectomy is a procedure that disconnects a man's reproductive tubes, making it impossible for him to father children. Recent advances in medical technology have given surgeons the ability to see the male reproductive system much more closely. With these tools, surgeons have been much more successful in performing microsurgeries to restore men to fertility.

Over half a million American men choose to have vasectomies every year. More and more of them are later changing their minds. Most of these men cite one of three common reasons for wanting to reverse their earlier decision. A percentage of men didn't think they or their wives wanted any more children but later realized they do want to have more kids. Others have experienced the tragic loss of one or more children through diseases or accidents. Finally, some of these men have divorced and then re-married. They want to create a new family with their new wives.

These personal reasons are being bolstered by a shift in insurance company policies. Increasingly, insurance companies are willing to pay for the procedure. This is largely because the operation has been shown to be as effective as in vitro fertilization, while being simpler, easier and more affordable. They enjoy other benefits over in vitro fertilization as well; there's a much lower chance of twins or triplets. Multiple births are associated with a range of medical complications for women.

Vasectomy reversals have a success rate higher than 90 percent. Even patients whose tubes were disconnected over a decade earlier have been given newfound fertility. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and can typically be performed in less than three hours. Three weeks later, couples can try to conceive.

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