Failed Vasectomy 

A “wrongful birth” compensation claim arises where a child is born who would not have been born if it had not been for medical negligence. 

A vasectomy, is an operation which provides permanent male contraception and is sometimes described as “male sterilisation.” The operation, which is carried out under local anaesthetic, involves the surgeon cutting and excising a section of the vas deferens (tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles) to prevent the passage of sperm into semen in ejaculate. 

Vasectomy success rates are generally very high. However, occasionally vasectomies fail, which can result in conception of an unplanned and unwanted child. Prior to surgery, surgeons should warn of the risk of long term failure of the procedure. They should also warn that there will continue to be a risk of pregnancy following surgery until a minimum of two tests demonstrate that the ejaculate is sperm free and that during that period condoms or other contraception will need to be used. It is normally four months or more until sperm stops being ejaculated. If an unwanted pregnancy occurs, failure to explain these points could result in a medical negligence claim.

If more than 6 months after surgery sperm is still being ejaculated, then the vasectomy is deemed to have failed. 

Vasectomy failure can be caused by negligent surgical technique by the surgeon, with the vas deferens tubes not being cut correctly.  On occasions, the surgeon can mistakenly cut a ligament instead of the vas deferens tubes. There will also be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim if failure of the vasectomy was caused by negligently performed surgery and you have ended up with an uplanned baby.

On rare occasions failure is caused by the vas (the sperm duct) regrowing and  the vas deferens tubes that carry the sperm naturally rejoining (this is called recanalisation). If this happens, another operation will be required leaving a gap between the tubes to prevent them from rejoining again. Even so, a second operation carries an increased risk of failure and surgeons should recognise and advise about this.

In wrongful birth claims, compensation may include:

General damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity connected with an unwanted pregnancy and birth

 The cost of a further vasectomy operation

 • A sum of £15,000 to compensate losing your right to limit the size of your family

Loss of earnings during maternity or paternity leave

Expenses connected with the unwanted pregnancy and birth

Expenses relating to equipment for the baby

The team of specialist medical negligence solicitors at Chadwick Lawrence is led by Tony May, a specialist birth injury and cerebral palsy solicitor with particular expertise in dealing with birth injury related compensation cases. He has an excellent record in high value and complex cases, many resulting in multi-million pound settlements. Tony has over 20 years experience in dealing with cases in which babies have been brain damaged or sustained other injuries as a result of negligent care and management before, during or following birth. He continues to represent many cerebral palsy children and young adults in medical negligence claims and after settlement he provides ongoing support as the Court of Protection Deputy for many of his cerebral palsy and brain damaged clients.

Tony can be contacted by email on or by telephone on 01484 519999. Alternatively, you could call our team on the freephone number below.

Our dedicated team of specialist clinical negligence, birth injury and cerebral palsy solicitors deal with claims countrywide and claims including vasectomy failure claims. We are based at our Huddersfield office but can visit you in your home or in hospital if you are unable to attend at one of our West Yorkshire offices. If you believe that your child or a member of your family may have sustained a birth injury or experienced an unsuccessful vasectomy as a result of medical negligence and/or negligence by a midwife, please contact our specialist medical negligence Legal Aid and no-win-no-fee lawyers for free legal advice.

Contact Chadwick Lawrence for free legal advice on FREE PHONE 0800 028 2969 or

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