What Are The Chances of Getting Pregnant After a Vasectomy?
Your partner having a vasectomy is not a 100% guarantee that you will not ever get pregnant. There is a very small (but very real) failure rate for vasectomy. There is about a 0.6% to 1% chance that a man will still conceive a child after having had a vasectomy.
The biggest risk of getting pregnant after your partner has had a vasectomy will occur in the first few months after the procedure. When you get a vasectomy, the health care provider will generally schedule a series of semen tests for the weeks following your vasectomy to check for sperm. One of the most common ways that a woman gets pregnant after her partner’s vasectomy is if they don’t practice an alternate form of birth control in those first few months. While it varies from one man to the next, it generally takes around ten weeks before sperm stop showing up in the semen after having a vasectomy. In general, a man will have to have somewhere between 25 and 30 ejaculations before no sperm can be found in the semen, however some men have needed as many as 60 ejaculations for this to occur.
In some cases, even after a semen test is taken in which no sperm are found, a man may later become potent and start having sperm in his semen again. Any number of things can be responsible for this. They can include a technical error in the vasectomy procecure, for example. In some cases, the ends of the vasa that are cut can actually grow back together on their own. In other cases, an opening can develop in the vasa that will allow sperm to come through.
All told, a vasectomy is one of the surest ways to prevent pregnancy, compared to other methods. Natural methods of birth control are possibly the least reliable methods of preventing getting pregnant. Using the withdrawal technique is about 96% effective; using rhythm can be as little as 91% effective, or as high as 99% effective, depending on the individual woman and how exactly the method is practiced.
Barrier methods of birth control tend to be a little bit better in terms of preventing getting pregnant. Using a sponge is about 91% effective. Using spermicide alone or a diaphragm is around 94% effective. Using a male condom is about 97% effective, and using a female condom about 95%. Combining one of the other methods with spermicide can raise the effectiveness to around 99%, however.
Hormonal methods of birth control have some of the best statistics, and are comparable to the success rates of a vasectomy. Norplant, for example, is 99.91% effective. The Depo-Provera shot (sometimes called the Depo shot for short) is around 99.7% effective. Birth control pills are around 99.1% effective.
Of course, one of the benefits of having a vasectomy as compared to other methods is that it is a one-time thing. With other methods, their success rates depend greatly on you using them correctly; the effectiveness of condoms, for example, lessens to around 93% on average due to incorrect use. With a vasectomy, you don’t have to worry about a condom breaking, or forgetting to take birth control pills.