Send to

Choose Destination
Fertil Steril. 1997 Sep;68(3):552-5.

Patient noncompliance after vasectomy.

Author information

Michigan Urological Clinic, Grand Rapids, USA.



To determine the postoperative instruction compliance rate in men undergoing bilateral vasectomy.


Retrospective chart review.


Private practice urological office.


The records of all patients undergoing vasectomy were reviewed to determine the rate of compliance with postvasectomy follow-up instructions. It is our policy to have the patient continue to use some form of birth control until he achieves two consecutive negative semen analyses 1 month apart. In addition, we recommend a yearly semen analysis after achieving sterility to screen for the rare patient who recanalizes. Postvasectomy follow-up instructions are given to the patient both verbally and in writing.




The records of 1,892 consecutive patients undergoing vasectomy were reviewed, and the results of semen analyses were noted to determine the rate of compliance with postvasectomy follow-up instructions.


Six hundred forty-four men (34%) never returned after vasectomy and, therefore, no semen analyses were available for examination. Six hundred nineteen men (33%) returned for a single semen analysis. Six hundred twenty-nine men (33%) returned for a second negative semen analysis. Only 60 men (3%) completed postvasectomy follow-up instructions and returned for a yearly semen analysis.


The rate of compliance with postvasectomy follow-up instructions for determining sterility is poor.


To determine the rate of patient compliance with post-vasectomy instructions for verifying sterility, the records of all 1892 men undergoing bilateral vasectomy in a private urological practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during 1985-95 were reviewed. Vasectomy acceptors at this practice are instructed to use some form of birth control until 2 consecutive negative semen analyses 1 month apart have been recorded. In addition, a yearly semen analysis is recommended to screen for recanalization. These post-vasectomy instructions are delivered verbally on 1 occasion and 3 times in writing. 644 men (34%) never returned after vasectomy. Another 619 men (33%) returned only for a single semen analysis, even though 36 had a positive test result. 629 men (33%) with an initial negative result returned for a second semen analysis; in 65 cases, the second analysis failed to document azoospermia. A total of 157 men with positive first or second semen analyses never were cleared. Only 60 men (3%) returned for the yearly semen analysis. 8 pregnancies (0.4%) were reported in this series, all of which involved men who had not followed the post-vasectomy protocol. These findings underscore the need for thorough patient education on the importance of the post-vasectomy follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center