vasectomy speciman timing
March 21, 2011 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Post-vasectomy speciman timing?

The doctor said to come back "after 20 ejaculations". I asked "*exactly* 20 or *at least* 20?" but he didn't understand me and I was too hyped up, post-op, to try to clarify.

They also set up an appointment, but I understood it to be just a reminder to come back after 20. The particular date/time didn't matter, just that we had *something* on the calendar.

I misremembered the date of that second appointment and so kind of hurried through my 20 to meet it. Called back to ask about details (like, "do I have to check in at the desk or can I just drop it off in the thing"). The receptionist looked at my dates and said "your dropoff isn't scheduled for 3 more weeks. they need/like to have a certain amount pass first. just wait until then." what? Is 20 the magical number or is 6 weeks (or whatever the time is) the magical number? If 20 is important, I need to call back and do it now. If 20 is a *minimum* and the time is more important after that, I can wait.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
I remember those days! The big deal is that there's a general limit [i.e. 20 ejaculations should do it] but most offices wait the six weeks anyhow because 1. they don't care that much about how soon you can have no-birth-control sex 2. less liklihood of a borderline result and thus you having to come back [and more work for them]. When my SO got the procedure done he did basically exactly what you are doing. * fap* *fap* *fap* "Okay now I am ready for my test!" and he called them, they put him off a few weeks, he got the test, they gave him the "all clear" and then we got the horrible phone call a few weeks later "Um.... actually it's not quite all clear" which send us both into a tailspoin/panic after we felt we'd covered all the bases and done everything by the book.

In the UK where getting a vasectomy is way more common, most of the "failure rates" of the procedure are people having unproteted sex too soon afterwards when some of the sperm are still alive and motile. And determining how long that window is is, as near as I can tell, not an exact science it's a series of probabilities.

So, 20 is a guideline. Six weeks is a guideline. Different doctors seem to set up your first test according to slightly different guidelines, was what I discovered at the time while going through exactly the same thing you guys are going through.
posted by jessamyn at 7:34 AM on March 21, 2011

You sort of hinted at another question, and it was large on my mind when I went through the process, so I'll answer it--the freshness of the sample is not critical, either. You don't have to, you know, produce it at the office. For a regular fertility test, they're looking not only at sperm count, but motility. For a post-vasectomy test, they're looking only for the presence of sperm, so a few hours old is just fine.
posted by pupsocket at 8:10 AM on March 21, 2011

vasectomy survivor here - yep, any time AFTER the 6 weeks/20 ejac number would be fine. They're strictly looking for the absence of sperm in this case, so no sperm = mission accomplished.

>insert joke about how many weeks it takes to have sex 20 times here<
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:28 AM on March 21, 2011

They want you to wait both 6 weeks and 20 (12, in my case) ejaculations. The sample needs to be same-day fresh, and you just have to drop it off, no meeting with the doctor.

You're not sterile until they say you are.
posted by Four Flavors at 11:28 AM on March 21, 2011

Yeah, the more time that has past + the more ejaculation times, the merrier. I worked at a lab once where I used to test these post-vasectomy specimens for the presence of sperm. Your doctor wants to be absolutely sure that the plumbing is cleaned out. They just gave you 20 as a minimum number.

The advice about a fresh sample is true. It must be produced and to the lab within 1-2 hours if collecting at home. This is so the lab can see if the sperm are motile or not. If there are motile sperm present, it can be interpreted very differently than having say, sperm present but none are motile. This can probably go without saying, but non-motile sperm don't fertilize eggs. Motile ones do.

Stick to your original appointment time. Good luck.
posted by ohohcyte at 12:21 PM on March 21, 2011

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