Out of the 436 men who underwent vasectomy at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, a mere one-fifth were found to attend the two-sets of sperm-checking tests, that played a crucial role in conferring an all-clear status. The results of the study can be cited in the UK-based BJU International.
Out of the 80 men who presented at the clinic for the first test (routinely performed 8 weeks after the surgery), three were three were still producing active sperm. One of these cases was diagnosed to be a vasectomy failure, sometime later.
'Our results show that only three quarters of the men in the study turned up for their eight-week sperm test. This means a quarter of them had no idea whether the procedure had worked and whether their partner could still fall pregnant, 'commented Dr. Nivedita Dhar, chief resident urologist at the Glickman Urological Institute.
A majority of those who underwent vasectomy failed to report for the first test, despite careful counseling by the medical staff, making it impossible to exactly determine the vasectomy failure rate.
Previous studies have suggested that the non-compliance rates among vasectomy patients to be between 25 and 40%. Although the first test had pointed out that additional testing might be needed in 65 men (at the end of 12 weeks), only 15 attended the clinic for retesting. This further highlight the fact a test done at the end of 12 weeks instead of the conventional 8 weeks may be sufficient enough to test the success of the surgical procedure.
'It may, however, be possible to improve full compliance among those who return for at least one test by simplifying the follow-up tests in line with current medical evidence and making sure that this is backed up by adequate counselling. However, it is very important to stress that couples need to use additional contraception until the vasectomy patient has been given the all clear,' said Dr Stephen Jones, Vice-chairman of the institute.
'It is also vital that the laboratory undertaking the analysis of the sample does it properly. Diagnosing whether there is sperm in the ejaculate is quite tricky to do and in the UK we have strict guidelines that all laboratories should adhere to. But it does not matter how strict they are if the man does not turn up for testing in the first place!,' concluded Dr. Allan Pacey, Secretary of the British Fertility Society.