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Vasectomy as a reversible form of contraception for select patients
Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Apr  2014 (Vol.  21, Issue  2, Pages( 7234 - 7240)
PMID: 24775578


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    To provide an effective form of birth control, men may choose a reversible or permanent form of contraception. Vasectomy is presently offered as a permanent option for male contraception. We have had patients who were interested in vasectomy and reversal as a temporary birth control option. The purpose of this paper is to determine if vasectomy should be offered for selected couples as a temporary form of contraception and under which circumstances.


    A literature review was conducted to determine the available reversible contraceptive options, risks, failure rates and contraindications to each, and the risks and success rates of vasectomy and vasectomy reversal.


    Reversible contraceptives include hormonally based methods for women, non-hormonal anatomic barrier devices and spermatocidal agents. Hormone based therapies may be contraindicated in women with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and some cancers. Non-hormonal contraceptives are generally less effective and may be unacceptable for some couples due to higher failure rates, difficulty of use and lack of acceptance. Both vasectomy and vasectomy reversal are low risk procedures. Reversal may be performed with a high degree of success, particularly with a short obstructive interval (97% patency if performed < 3 years following vasectomy).


    While vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of sterilization for most couples, there are select couples, unable or unwilling to use other forms of birth control, who would benefit from an informed discussion about using a vasectomy as a reversible form of contraception.