After Vasectomy, Single Test Might Give All-Clear

FRIDAY June 11, 2010 -- A single semen test three months after a man's vasectomy may be enough for him to get the all-clear, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed semen samples from a group of men three months after they had a vasectomy and found that 51 percent of the samples contained no sperm and 45 percent contained less than 100,000 sperm that were unable to move (immotile).

During a follow-up of at least a year, none of the 96 percent of cleared men reported getting a woman pregnant.

The study is published in the June issue of the urology journal BJUI.

"Our study clearly shows that three months after vasectomy about half of our patients were still producing sperm, albeit immotile and in very small numbers," study co-author Dr. Herman van Roijen, of the urology department at St. Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg, the Netherlands, said in a journal news release. "However, our study also showed that the residual sperm are of no clinical consequence."

"Vasectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that provides a widespread, reliable and relatively easy method of birth control," van Roijen said. "One of the major drawbacks is that a considerable number of men still have a few immotile sperm in their semen for a year or more. Conventional guidelines have stated that clearance can only be given to men who provide one or two sperm-free samples. The fear of legal action if pregnancy does occur has led to very conservative vasectomy protocols."

"However, our study -- based on guidelines issued by the Dutch Urological Association -- shows that one semen test is adequate to provide clearance in the vast majority of cases," van Roijen said.

Posted: June 2010


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