Yesterday I had an introductory meeting with a couple for birth photography. The woman was pregnant with her third child and told me that this child was very strongly desired. She and her husband already had 2 children and once the second child was born they reached a compromise. He would go for a vasectomy. She did want a third child, but she could also understand his side and so she agreed. But the desire for another child wouldn’t go away and one day when he came home, her husband told her, “I can see you’re unhappy and that our family is not complete yet. I’m going to have the vasectomy reversed.”

While she’s telling me this I’m sitting on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to hear about how she got pregnant. The reversal went well and in full confidence they started trying for a third child. But it didn’t happen and they decided to meet with a doctor. There, they heard why it wasn’t happening. I hadn’t googled or otherwise searched for any information about getting pregnant (or not) after a vasectomy reversal, because I didn’t want my thought processes to be influenced by what I read. Everyone is different and I just wanted to deal with things as they happened, but the next bit of information I received changed everything for me….

Sperm is made in the testicles during puberty. It never comes in contact with any other part of the body because it leaves the body directly through the penis. When a vasectomy is done (and reversed) then it can happen that the sperm comes into contact with the blood in the body. The blood does not recognise the sperm as part of its own body and starts to produce antibodies to reject it. The antibodies cause the sperm to congeal, which means it cannot swim any more. The more antibodies, the smaller the chance of a ‘natural’ pregnancy.

She continues to tell me that IUI (artificial insemination) would have been pointless, so they had to go directly to IVF. The first attempt was successful and now they’re expecting their third child.

I need to let this information sink in and can’t wait to tell Denny. Would he have these antibodies? Does it even make sense to try and get pregnant naturally? We’re not that young anymore and I’m not willing to try for months on end if it’s totally pointless anyway. I tell her honestly about our situation and she immediately says, “Go to the doctor and get it checked out. It’s wasting time to try otherwise. Your chances are so small.”


It’s April 2013.