Brent and Hollias thought it would take months—or years—to conceive a child after Brent had a vasectomy reversal in February 2014.
But the Twin Cities couple was in for a pleasant surprise when Hollias found out she was pregnant just a few weeks after Brent’s surgery at University of Minnesota Medical Center. On Dec. 12, 2014, Hollias gave birth to their daughter, Evelyn.
Two weeks later, Hollias and Brent sent a happy email to University of Minnesota Health Urologic Surgeon Joshua Bodie, MD, who performed Brent’s vasectomy reversal.
“Thank you for your great work and for helping us achieve the greatest Christmas present!” Hollias wrote.
Brent and Hollias’ story is not uncommon, said Bodie, who often receives questions from patients or prospective patients about vasectomy reversals. A vasectomy is a surgical procedure for men seeking permanent birth control. During the procedure, a surgeon disconnects the vas deferens, the tube through which sperm pass during ejaculation. This surgery prevents pregnancy.
In most cases, vasectomies can be reversed, if a man decides that he is once again interested in having children.
Brent received a vasectomy in 2002, following the birth of his third child in a previous marriage. But after remarrying in 2012, he and Hollias chose to start building a family together.
Their online research led them to Bodie, and the couple scheduled a consult with him to learn more about the procedure. During the meeting, Bodie talked through options with Hollias and Brent, including in vitro fertilization and the vasectomy reversal. The couple chose the vasectomy reversal because it was less costly and offered a high rate of success.
There are two types of vasectomy reversals. In the first type, the disconnected ends of the vas deferens, which transport sperm, are reattached to restore flow. This type of reversal, called a vasovasostomy, has a 95 percent success rate, Bodie said.
But if scarring from the initial vasectomy or other factors make it impossible to reconnect the separated ends of the vas deferens, the surgeon will perform a vasoepididymostomy. During this procedure, the care team will surgically attach one end of the vas deferens directly to the epididymis. The success rate for this more complicated surgery is lower, but is still successful in the majority of cases, Bodie said.
Bodie and his care team were able to perform a standard vasectomy reversal for Brent. The couple chose University of Minnesota Medical Center because of its high quality of care.
“If we were going to do it, we were going to get it done right the first time,” Brent said. “Dr. Bodie educated us along the way. I was never in the dark as to what was going to happen or what they were going to do, from beginning to end.”
Now, Brent and Hollias are adapting to a new normal with baby Evelyn. The couple’s choice to have another child came after years of conversation and research.
“It’s what we wanted, and we finally got it,” Hollias said. “Some days are tough, and other days are phenomenal. When Evelyn smiles or coos, it makes it all worthwhile.
“We owe it all to [Dr. Bodie] and the care team,” Hollias said. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have Evelyn.”