Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

'We were very naive'

Nick and Kerry May from Hertfordshire finally had a baby boy last year after two attempts at a vasectomy reversal. They describe their experience.

"I married relatively young - in my early 20s - and had two children. I thought I was done and had a vasectomy. I was 31," says Nick.

I was in a lot of pain after the operation and there was a lot of swelling. It was made even more depressing by the fact that it didn't seem to have worked
Nick May
But circumstances changed and the relationship broke down. "I met Kerry, and it was clear to me that even though I had already had children, life would not be complete if we could not start a family together."

Kerry says: "Early on in the relationship I learned he had a vasectomy, but it wasn't an issue for me. I did want children but I assumed the vasectomy was reversible - and indeed that this was quite an easy thing to do.

"We were very naive. We just went to a local urologist and handed over 2,500."

Nick adds: "We didn't do the research. The doctor we went to see sold it really well during the consultation but we had no idea about her success rates or anything like that.

"I was in a lot of pain after the operation and there was a lot of swelling. It was made even more depressing by the fact that it didn't seem to have worked."

It was an incredibly difficult and emotional time
Kerry May

The Mays kept returning to clinic for tests but Nick's sperm count remained low. "We hadn't really been prepared for the fact that it might not work. The doctor just kept telling us the sperm might take a while to come through," says Kerry. "It was an incredibly difficult and emotional time."

Kerry's age meant they felt time was running out, so they decided to have another go and went to a clinic in Hartlepool. They were so uncertain now about the chances of Nick regaining his fertility that they had already booked an IVF appointment.

But this time the operation was a success - and Kerry fell pregnant the month afterwards.

The couple do not believe that reversals should be available on the NHS, "but there should be league tables so that people are not left in the dark. We just didn't know anything," says Kerry.

Nick says: "Of course it's easy to have regrets about the vasectomy now - at the time it did seem like the right thing to do.

"But I think anyone under 40 should think very carefully about this and be aware of the difficulties of reversal. It's a decision which needs to be taken very seriously."

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