Maximise your chances

Becoming pregnant is not always easy. If you are having your vasectomy reversed by John Lemberger then there is an excellent chance that you will have a successful outcome. However, there are many other factors which can affect fertility and so there are other things you can do to maximise your chances of pregnancy.

Healthy sperm

A vasectomy reversal will restore the tubes that carry sperms from the testicle. In expert hands, over 90% of men may get sperms returning to their semen after a vasectomy reversal. The highest chances of pregnancy are when the sperm count is high and the sperms are very mobile. There are other factors which can affect sperm other than the vasectomy reversal operation itself, such as…

  • Smoking. Men who smoke have less healthy sperm and lower fertility levels. If you want to stop smoking then your GP or Pharmacist can offer support and will advise you about nicotine patches.
  • Diet. The most important thing is to have a healthy balanced diet. Certain supplements are thought to be helpful for healthy sperm such as Zinc, Selenium and vitamin C.
  • Alcohol. Drinking alcohol can reduce your sperm count and also reduce the sperm quality. Avoid drinking excessively if you are trying to conceive. Men should drink no more than 21 units per week (and a mazimum of 4 units per day).
  • Drugs. Many drugs can have an effect on your sperm count. Avoid anabolic steroids (eg used for body building) and recreational drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines and “opiate” drugs. Do not stop any prescription medication without first consulting your family doctor.
  • Frequency of sex. If you don’t have sex often enough, then your chances of pregnancy will be less and it is probably more important to have regular sex than to worry about holding on for one special day. Try not to have a regular schedule, as this can just lead to “performance pressure” and stress.
  • Saunas. The testicles work best in cooler temperatures, so long, hot baths, frequent saunas and lots of hot-tubs are probably best avoided. Some people think that tight underwear may also increase the scrotal temperature, but there is no real evidence for this.

Advice for women

Unfortunately, fertility problems can occur in women as well as men. Even if your vasectomy reversal is very successful, you will only be able to get your partner pregnant if her fertility is normal too. The following tips may help women improve their chances of becoming pregnant…

  • Smoking and alcohol can both reduce a woman’s fertility. Try to stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake as much as possible. This will also reduce your chances of miscarriage and improve your baby’s health too.
  • Folate tablets. It is good advice for women to take folate supplements when they are trying to start a family. It reduces the chance of miscarriage and reduces the chance of spinal cord problems in the baby.
  • Vaginal lubricants. Artificial lubricants are often toxic to sperm. If needed, olive oil is a natural lubricant which doesn’t significantly interfer with sperm function.
  • Timing of sexual intercourse. Women are most likely to get pregnant in the middle of their menstrual cycle. This is usually 14 days before the start of your period and you should have sex as often as possible for about 6 days before this time to maximise your chances. You may need to keep a diary of your cycle for several months to work out your dates.


Stress is bad for you! It can certainly have a negative effect on both partners’ fertility. Try to relax and enjoy making a baby. If there is too much expectation on both of you whenever you have sex, then your chances of pregnancy may be affected.

When love making is put on a ‘schedule’ there is some evidence that suggests that hormones may be affected, and that could influence conception.

A study of 184 women who were having problems getting pregnant, those couples who had a 10-week course of relaxation training and stress reduction had a 55% chance of getting pregnant within one year, compared with just 20% for couples who had no stress reduction training.

Old wives’ tales: fact and fiction

Everyone has heard some bizarre and wonderful ideas that are supposed to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Here are some of our favourites…

  • Women should keep their legs elevated after sex.TRUE. Well, maybe. It certainly can’t hurt, and many experts advise their patients to adopt this simple technique. Putting a couple of pillows under the pelvis means that gravity can help the sperms on their way.
  • Oysters improve a man’s virility.FALSE. Oysters may contain some of the nutrients which are important for healthy sperm, but it’s probably better to make sure you have a healthy balanced diet. But if you like oysters – why not!
  • Lubricants can help the sperms to move through the vagina.FALSE. This doesn’t help at all and many lubricants can be damaging to sperm.
  • Sexual position is important.Probably not. As long as the female partner is not standing up, there is no evidence that one position is more likely to lead to pregnancy than another.
  • Boxer shorts are better than tight pants for men.FALSE. There is little evidence for this, although the theory is that boxers might help to reduce the temperature of the scrotum.
  • Lucky charms. Some Old Wives swear by lucky charms. The classic is the “moon-gazing hare” because the moon and Hares were both pagan fertility symbols. We suspect this won’t help too much. Corn dollies were also made by couples hoping to get pregnant. Other activities are probably more helpful though…