Fatherly Stuff: Getting a Vasectomy: To Snip or Not to Snip

Nov 7, 2013

Getting a Vasectomy: To Snip or Not to Snip

I remember knowing as far back as a little kid that I was going to be a dad. Not only that, but I was going to have at least 5-8 kids because why not? The more the merrier, right?
While fleeting fantasies like that were well and good in my youth, the reality of these childhood "dreams" set in within about 1 month from the birth of our first child. There were great moments, amazing really. But there were also those movements of exhaustion, stress and near bankruptcy that eventually led us to the decision that we were done after one.

Done with one.... Hmmmmm, Yeah right.
Three years later, something in us changed. Perhaps it was the fact that we were seemingly so far removed from our first  son’s infant stage that we actually started to miss the smell, sound and touch of a new baby. Perhaps we should have just considered getting  a “new baby smell” Car Freshener instead.  

Coming to a car wash near you!

My wife and I often joke that there must be some sort of innate trigger in the human brain that shifts your focus primarily on the good memories, like the first time his little baby hand gripped our fingers and melted our hearts, while somehow filtering out any negative experiences, like diaper changing and unwanted 3am wake up calls. As a matter of fact, don't let those sweet baby smiles fool you, the idea of "baby fever" is an actual biological reaction that occurs in our bodies. You can read all about it here.
And so, after some thoughtful discussion we proceeded to plan for our 2nd  bundle of joy. With that said, after a long and trying 9 months for both my wife and myself those memories of how hard it is to actually care for a baby began to somehow creep to the surface again. Once we were able to clearly envision our near future of long nights and smelly diapers, even before my second son's long awaited arrival, we had decided that once and for all after this baby, we were done.
Not “whoops, we’re having a third” No, "maybe we should try for girl?" No excuses...  done; DONE done.

But now the question we were left with, was how can we guarantee that there will be no “whoopsie baby” moments. We’ve discussed many hormonal birth control methods (the pill, Mirena, etc) that my wife could take. However, in the past, the hormones in those have pretty adverse effects on my wife; both physically and emotionally (and in turn, on me). So we have found that for now, the safest resource to prevent baby number 3 is the use of condoms, but not even that is 100% reliable and let’s be honest: The sensation comparatively is like eating at a diner: The food is pretty good and you don't regret going, but in the back of your mind, you know you've enjoyed better.
Therefore, until they come up with a birth control pill for men (What are you waiting for, science?) that leaves only two reasonable options: Either she gets her tubes tied, or I get a vasectomy.
So which partner is going to do what?  This is obviously a personal decision that a couple would want to carefully consider. At the very least, it probably isn’t something that you would want to decide on over a game of rock paper scissors.  At least, not a sane couple anyways.
When you compare the two procedures in terms of being invasive, potential risk factors and recovery time, it makes the most sense for me to have a vasectomy. With that more or less “decided”, I should be okay with heading down to the doctors, right? Well, not exactly….
Despite being medically “efficient” and “low risk”, I’m still feeling hesitant about actually going through with the procedure. Call me crazy, but there’s something about having a doctor tear into your junk with a scalpel a little imitating. Besides that, there are a few reasons why;

Will I Feel Like Less of a Man?
As a man, it’s not unnatural to have indicators for yourself-imagined or otherwise- that is used as somewhat of a masculinity gauge.  It could be something as significant and fulfilling as being an involved father. But it also is trivial, like being able to carry all of the grocery bags in the house in one trip. I’m willing to bet that for most guys, the capability to...ahem, fire a fully loaded pistol is up there on that list somewhere. After all, from a biological perspective, when you strip away our modern society, the sole purpose of our existence is to do our part to help create life. So, when you strip away that component of his physiology, where does that leave his psyche? Probably in the same place Luke Skywalker would be without the “light” on his light saber. Or, somewhere next to Dirty Harry if his magnum had a chamber full of blank bullets. Either way, I’m not sure if that is a place where I want to be, yet.
"Do ya feel potent, punk? Well, do ya?!" (Source)

Are We Really Done with Having Kids?
As I mentioned before, my wife and I did a complete 180 from our original decision and decided to try for a 2nd kid after all. Had I gotten the procedure done before that point, I’d probably be writing a different post right now. A buddy of mine and his wife decided that after two kids, enough was enough. They read the brochures, did their online research and scheduled an appointment with a urologist for a consultation. The doctor sat with my friend privately, looked him straight in the eye and said in a stern voice, "Before I sign off on this, you have to be really, really sure that you don't want to have children again."Needless to say, he hasn't been back to that office since. There's just something about the finality of it that makes me uneasy.

 Sure, they say that vasectomies are possibly reversible, but really, going through the experience a first time would be difficult enough, I can’t imagine going for round two. There's also the ace in the hole option of freezing samples of your sperm, in the event you change your mind. That possibility is all well and good too, but even that poses its own risks. What if the facility that his holding your sperm sample loses power and it  thaws or gets damaged somehow? Maybe I'm splitting hairs by coming up with worst case scenarios, but you're really limiting  yourself. You only get one shot at procreation until your only genetic imprint that you will ever produce is all used up.

Painful Side Effects?

Before I get into it, I'd like to mention that from the time I was a boy, it was hard-wired into my brain that pain and your scrotum are two things that should never, ever mix together. Here's a bit of advice for you: If you're on the fence about getting a vasectomy and you don’t want to be scarred for life, do not Google the words vasectomy and side effects in succession.

With any invasive procedure, there’s always the risk of complications occurring.  Some of them are unlikely and are minor, but there are others that will make you cross your legs as you read through the laundry list of possibilities. It kind of reminds me of one of those pharma drug commercials that shows scenes with smiling people doing activities that have nothing to do with the drug itself. Imagine if getting a vasectomy was sold like that? Here's my pitch for one of those commercials:

 Tired of using condoms?
*Group of guys playing basketball*

Are you worried that your wife will forget her birth control?
*Guy climbing a mountain*
Worried you might unintentionally increase your family number?
 *Family watching TV*

 Then you have to try Snip-a-sac!

Symptoms may include:
Bleeding, swelling, infection, random sperm dribbling,  sperm granuloma (leakage into tissue)
and painful ejaculation! (Sourced from WebMd and MayoClinic

Ask you doctor if Snip-a-sac is right for you! Try it (or not) today!

This may sound like an anti-vasectomy post, but that’s not my intention. These are simply my reflections on the situation and ultimately, a clear indicator that I’m not yet ready to take the leap. For every horror story, I'm sure there are plenty of happy, satisfied dads who are enjoying the best worry free sex of their life. But until I can work through my issues and make a decision, I guess I’ll just stick with the old fashioned methods of birth control.

Question: Have you or your partner gotten a vasectomy? If so, are you happy with your decision? If not, what made you decide against it?

No comments:

Post a Comment