Hey guys: why haven't you had a vasectomy?

I read an interesting editorial in last weeks Washington Post (free registration required) about a 40-something married woman, with kids, who became pregnant, and decided to have an abortion since she couldn’t find Plan B (the morning after pill) in northern Virginia. I am a firm supporter of abortion rights, and I think the Plan B pill should be made easily avaiable. However, I am also a 39 year-old father of 2,and when my wife and I concluded that 2 kids was enough, I had myself snipped. It was a simple operation, with a fast recovery time, and insurance covered most of it. Now my wife and I no longer have to worry about birth control at all. But from what I’ve read, vasectomy is still not a very popular birth control choice. So I’m curious to hear from those Dopers who don’t want any more kids, but haven’t been snipped: why not?

I’m snipped but I’ll give you a justification I’ve heard, “If my wife dies and I remarry, then I may want to have more children with my new wife.”

As a 41-year old with a 4-year old, I can’t even think about having more children later. These’ll do just fine.

I read that article also. Just awful! You make a good point, Emilio. I’m sorry for the author’s pain, I admire her bravery in coming forward even under a pseudonym, and I hope her hubby gets snipped soon.

I’m 46, and I’ve been snipped. One of the better things I’ve done. It’s great not having to worry about “surprises”! Particularly since both of our kids have psychological/developmental problems. Dweezil has Asperger’s Syndrome, and Moon Unit has some ADD-like issues (sometimes bordering on ODD). They’re great kids! At their ages (late elementary school), much of the time you can hardly tell they’re different. That’s


of therapy paying off. They’re also both very bright, which helps.

They are great kids, but Mama Zappa and I couldn’t deal with another. In the exceedingly unlikely event that Mama Zappa and I split up, I would not want more want more kids, since my kids’ issues are genetic. :frowning:

I can understand guys’ reluctance at the surgery. You want to cut


. I was lucky, I had other work that needed to be done, so I got general anesthesia instead of local. But my recovery was much easier than I feared, and was almost exactly what the doctor had projected. With my limited experience, I would guess that a regular vasectomy with local anesthesia would be OK. YMMV!

I’ve heard for years about a coming advance in snipping-technology. Namely, implanting a small valve that would allow, with a minor procedure, easy reversal and rereversal of the vasectomy. I think that would be a big hit if they could perfect it.

Women’s point of view:

I did the girly snip one day after the birth of our second kidlet. I was 27 MrSin was 29; at the time the Doc was kind of wavering on whether to do it or not. It was pretty controversial in the early 80’s. My thinking was:

  1. I did not really want to go thru another pregnancy, even though the 1st two went well.

  2. If something happened to MrSin and if I ever remarried I still would not want additional kids, especially as I got older.

  3. If something happened to me and MrSin got remarried it would probably be to a younger chick who would want kids. (MrSIn is a hotty :cool: IMHO)

Much discussion ensued.

So I can kind of understand the guy not getting the snip. :slight_smile:

I’m gay, and I don’t think my partner will be getting pregnant . . . in this life anyway.

I was 22 when I decided I was done having kids. You shoulda seen me going 'round and 'round with the surgeon. He did not want to do it to me since I was so young. Finally, I told him I was on kid #3 and I was VERY certain that I was done.

My boyfriend offered to get snipped, but I decided to get my tubes tied. Bottom line, I don’t want any more kids no matter who I’m sleeping with, so it just made sense to make sure I’ll never have to worry about it again. I’m surprised that more men don’t feel the same way.

I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m 42, no kids, recently divorced. With all of the activity that I’ve been having since the divorce, I decided it’s time to get cut. I have a preliminary appointment with the doc next week. I’ll be shooting blanks very soon.

While I’m not a guy, it seems like a lot of the resistance to vasectomies boils down to guys being squeamish about getting an incision anywhere near their testicles.
I’ve also heard some uneducated views of people who think that it’s something like being castrated or that it will have some effect on sexual performance.
You might not run into that view as much on here because I think Dopers tend, in general, to be more scientifically informed than the average person, but I think that’s a factor in why vasectomy is so unpopular. It’s too bad, because it’s one of the most reliable methods of contraception out there. The diaphragm is such an unreliable method of birth contorl, particularly for women who have had kids already, I’m surprised that the author of that piece was relying on it in the first place.

I’ll offer two website that may explain why it is not such a safe, harmless ‘snip’:



The first provides some references to articles in peer-reviewed medical journals; also a couple of books.

The second has over 160 reverences to articles in peer-reviewed medical journals, but is primarily the work of a single man who lives with chronic, life-crippling pain because of his vasectomy. The web page has not been updated in a couple of years.

There are some documented cases of arthritis or other autoimmune disease being triggered by vasectomy. My husband already has an autoimmune disease (arthritis); when it came time for of us to be sterilized, I took that risk on myself. Atrophy of the testicles is not unknown; decreased testosterone production is not unknown; short- or long-term pain, some of which cannot be addressed surgically or otherwise, can occur in up to 20% of cases.

This said, of course the majority of men who have vasectomies will have little or no ill effects, or nothing they can point at and say ‘this is it.’

The problem is, when a man does have a post-vasectomy problem, will people believe him, or brush him off and say

“No, it’s in your head.”
“No, it can’t be true, because it didn’t happen to me/millions of men have this every year and they’re not harmed”.
“No, it can’t be true because it’s a safe, harmless procedure”

…or, will he be believed, and find sympathetic help? Will he even dare to say anything?

I suspect most men are squeamish about the procedure itself, and having a cut in the scrotum, and I don’t blame them. I wasn’t all that crazy about the Essure procedure I had (which failed, and I had a pregnancy) or the subsequent tubal ligation. But, that doesn’t mean they might not have reason to be leery. I figure, as long as a man is fully informed and makes a choice with all the knowledge in hand, more power to him. The man who has it done knowing nothing more than ‘it’s safe and effective’ may get more than he bargained for.

That’s pretty much it. Also since we have more or less damn all sex anyway, the odds of Mrs M. getting knocked up before menopause kicks in seem kinda small…

My ex had one years ago. He said he had delayed it longer then he should have, so he proves the OP’s point.

Or you could make a deposit in a sperm bank. It’s so much easier for men to do the vasectomy than for women to do the tubal (like I did). I think men are just so proud and protective of their organ, that they can’t bear the thought of sullying the majestic cockosity of it.


Wow. Do I ever feel bad for that woman. If she’d known about Planned Parenthood earlier, she could have called them and gotten the Plan B the same day without an appointment. :frowning:

Every woman should know about Planned Parenthood, the services they provide and where the closest one to them is. They rock (and they’ll also provide referrals for vasectomies, too!).

How interesting and original! Any more pseudo-feminist psychobabble you wish to disperse while you’re at it?

I would get fixed in a minute if I could.

Unfortunately doctors have attitudes about single women my age with no kids getting fixed. Apparently you can’t decide that zero is enough kids.

When on my urology rotation I did notice something interesting, most of the men having vasectomies were what you would call “secure in their own masculinity”.

They tended to be policemen, firemen, soldiers and self-employed business men- the kind of guys who don’t worry that having a vasectomy will make them less manly, because they’re damn manly already.

I know it’s anectdotal, but it’s something I observed, and that one of the consultant urologists commented on, he said that the police were his best vasectomy customers!

In the gynae clinic, a woman and her husband came in requesting a tubal ligation (for her). However, because of her various physical problems, the gynaecologist was very reluctant to agree to it, and asked if the couple had considered vasectomy. I have never seen anyone go as white as the husband! The poor guy looked ill, and I was sent to fetch a glass of water. That option had to be taken off the table, and I think the lady had a Mirena in the end.

There are a lot of misconceptions, also there is still a feeling that contraception is the woman’s responsibility, and some men are just a little too squeamish about their balls to go through with it!

I don’t understand it either. A woman has to have actual surgery to get sterilized (and much worse if she gets pregnant), and it is much more pain intensive. A man is only given local, it takes 15 min., and they’re a little sore for a few days. IMO, it’s selfish for a man NOT to do it if he and his partner decide they don’t want more children.