“Out of 2,000 men who are sterilised, one will get a woman pregnant during the rest of his lifetime.” (NHS UK, 2013)
The decision to undergo a vasectomy is never taken lightly. Even though more than half of all men who are sterilised will later decide they wish to reverse their decision, at the time it is expected that the sterilisation will be permanent.
If a vasectomy has failed, this may have arisen as a result of substandard surgical treatment or because you weren’t given proper advice. Wherever the procedure took place – by a doctor at his practice or a surgeon at the hospital - an appropriate and reasonable standard of care is always owed to you, the patient.
Loss of sensation...
The majority of male sterilisation procedures are carried out without any problems. However errors can sometimes occur during surgery which may leave a patient disfigured, in recurring pain or with a loss of sensation.
Any clinical negligence which has caused injury or harm may require a further procedure or an extended period of recovery. It could mean taking time off work and a loss of earnings.
The clinical negligence team at Your Legal Friend have successfully resolved many different and specific types of cases for clients who felt they did not receive the expected duty of care. Our specialist, experienced lawyers can help you find out what went wrong and help to put right the injury or harm you have suffered because of negligence by a doctor, surgeon, nurse or other medical practitioner.
(NHS Information Centre and Hospital Episode Statistics, 2014)
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed on men to prevent pregnancy. Sperm is blocked from entering the semen, which means a woman’s egg will not be fertilised.
It is a minor outpatient procedure that usually lasts between 15 to 30 minutes and can be performed by a GP in their own surgery.
Using a local anaesthetic, the doctor makes a small incision in the side of the scrotum with a scalpel or laser to cut the ‘vas deferens’ – the tubes that carries the sperm. The two ends of the cut tube are then sealed.
A vasectomy does not stop sperm production. Although the vas deferens are cut and sperm cannot enter, it is possible for sperm to continue living in the tubes. It is advised that contraception should be used for at least eight weeks after the procedure.
Vasectomy is generally considered to be 99% effective and, following the surgery, the likelihood of conception decreases with time.. In the months following the surgery, your doctor should carry out two checks on samples under a microscope to ensure that all sperm has gone.
The effects of error or negligence may include:
More serious side-effects include:
There are two types of failed vasectomy:
It can take up to six months for semen to be clear of sperm after a vasectomy operation. Patients must be informed that they will remain fertile for up to four months following a vasectomy and that they must continue to practice contraception until it is confirmed that the sperm is no longer present.
Two samples of seminal fluid should be produced no earlier than 10 or 12 weeks following a vasectomy. If either of the first two tests shows any sperm, then the test must be repeated until two consecutive analyses show no sperm dead or alive.
If conception occurs during this period, the failure of the vasectomy is considered as short-term as the procedure has not yet become effective.
If sperm is still active six months after the vasectomy, then the procedure has failed because:
If a vasectomy failed because of clinical negligence, the most common reasons are:
Before surgery takes place – the scrotal sacs should be examined for abnormalities and a medical history taken.
A doctor should properly inform the patient - that pain, swelling and bruising are all likely to occur following the procedure and that there is a 1-2% risk of pain, which may continue for months.
Men involved with heavy manual work - should be warned that secondary bleeding can occur with serious consequences if they do not take several days off work.
It may be possible to claim compensation that could:
If a failed vasectomy results in the birth of a child
Reversing a vasectomy is a complicated procedure to rejoin the vans deferens tubes that were cut or blocked.
Depending on the age of the couple, it is estimated that the success rate of a vasectomy reversal is:
If a surgical error occurs during a vasectomy and a man isunknowingly left fertile, this can cause psychological injury.
As experienced clinical negligence specialists, we know that you will want to find out why your GP or doctor failed you in their duty to provide the expected standard of care in carrying out your vasectomy.
Our task is to ensure your voice is heard and your case is made so that the doctor, hospital, health trust or other medical practitioner can be brought to account for the harm and suffering caused.
Your Legal Friend is committed to ensuring victims of clinical negligence obtain answers to their questions, receive appropriate compensation and can ensure their future medical treatment and care needs are properly met.