Vasectomy Specialist Debunks Common Myths

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About Robert Duffer

Robert Duffer ( is the editor of the Dads & Families section of The Good Men Project. Winner of the Chicago Public Library's writing contest, his work appears in the Chicago Tribune, MAKE Magazine, Chicago Reader, Curbside Splendor, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Annalemma, New City, and other coffee-table favorites like Canadian Builders Quarterly. He teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and lives in the suburbs with his wife, two kids, and their minivan. Follow @DufferRobert, Google+, facebook.


  1. AnthonyZarat says:

    Q: Is it true that the Affordable Care Act mandates that all insurance must cover female tubal ligation free of charge, but does NOT mandate coverage (or prohibit co-payments) for male vasectomy?

  2. Q: Doctor, what is your response to the information provided on websites like which state the following side effects of vasectomy? Please provide links to specific studies.

    (1) chronic, long-term pain (based on survey patients, occurring in approximately 1/3 of patients), sometimes known as Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome, which in severe cases can require complete castration and testosterone replacement to alleviate the pain (an abstract of a 2012 paper on the National Library of Medicine, NIH website states: “…the importance of counseling patients of the risks of PVPS with vasectomy cannot be overstated.”

    (2) “Blowout” of the tied-off vas due to buildup of pressure from the ongoing production of sperm in the testes (occurring in nearly 100% of patients according to Campbell’s Urology, a standard text book in the field).

    (3) Resulting auto-immunity (confirmed in 60% – 80% of patients based on blood tests according to Campbell’s Urology), with follow-on auto-immune disease responses.


  3. Separate question to Mr. Duffer and the Editors:

    Note the highlighted, pull-out quote:

    “I often invite their wives back to observe the procedure either for moral support or to harass them enough to reduce some of the anxiety.”

    You did not question the Doctor further on this or comment on his remark.

    Do you see how this comment, and your lack of reaction / followup to it, could easily be seen to be supportive of harmful gender stereotypes (A) of wives as inclined to harass husbands going under the knife for sterilization, and (B) of men as worthy of harassment or as responding better to spousal harassment than, say, Xanax?

    • This doctor has the guys’ wives come in to “harass” them while they are literally being emasculated. Stunning comment from the doctor with absolutely no followup from the author.

      • LOLing Woman says:

        Are women who have tubal ligations being unfeminized???

        • I don’t know. That depends on how the woman in question feels about it.

          I do know this: No woman has the right to belittle a man’s opinion on this matter. She doesn’t have the right to be act aggrieved when the subject involves a man and his genitals — his body, his reproductive freedoms, his medical care. This is beyond her, way outside of her experience. A woman simply cannot understand.

        • She certainly loses a basic feminine trait, the ability to conceive a child. Do you think the doctor has husbands go in to “harass” their wives when they are nervous about the procedure?

  4. Your issue is with the hot verb “harass.” The connotations may be negative, but that was not the tone the doctor was using, nor was the context. It is common for spouses to rely on one another. The point I wanted to highlight was that the doctor recommends getting support from your spouse/partner.

    • Mr. Duffer —

      Any chance you could follow up with Dr. Siegel on the three clinical questions I posted above, and share the answers with us all here?

      Thanks, JustAMan

  5. I would just like to say that nearly 6 years later I still refer to the co-pay as the best $20 I ever spent.

  6. Barbara Schulte says:

    Back in 1989, I had a great doctor with the birth of my second child. Knowing our circumstances (we were really poor and had no insurance – we paid for our children’s births ourselves), he offered to perform a vasectomy on my then-husband, after office hours on a Friday, if I agreed to assist, for only $75.00.

    It was very interesting! The worst part was the shot. Then he performed one tiny incision, and he pulled what looked like a piece of spaghetti out of the slit, snipped and cauterized it, put it back, and did the same thing to the second tube. I don’t remember there being any blood. My ex sat around for a couple of days with frozen veggies in his lap, and then he was raring to go.

    My keeper husband has also gone through a vasectomy. I didn’t even get to witness that one, unfortunately. He has had some weird after effects, like he’ll get an itchy, tingly feeling in his testicles every once in a great while. Other than that, we are both very happy he did it, and we recommend it highly to men who don’t want any more children.

    • So, if I read this correctly,you have an ‘ex’ who’s now ‘shooting blanks’. I only mention this to point to the fact that with the divorce rate hovering around 50%, young, healthy men might want to think about it. That’s what happened to a friend of mine. Had a baby girl, wife decided that 1 was enough. He got snipped and a few years later they got divorced. Here he was, still a young man , but if he ever met someone else, there’s no way he could have anymore kids.

      • Barbara Schulte says:

        Yes, bobbt, he is shooting blanks. At 31 years old, he didn’t want any more children (which was a good thing, because he was a bad father), but due to his fear of another man touching his junk, he felt I should be the one to to get sterilized (which I was seriously considering). After going through the childbirth process with my exceptionally cool doctor, who shared a beer with him, my ex got over his fear.

        I agree with your warning on young men getting snipped. You never can tell how long a relationship is going to last, and you don’t want to make a decision like that without a lot of thought given to various potential futures. Hell, my ex probably thought that since I seemed to be oblivious to his dalliances, he had the ideal life-long marriage. Good thing I opened my eyes.

        I did want to point out that a vasectomy can be reversed. Success rates are higher the sooner you get the reversal done, so I’d advise your friend to look into that.

        • I realise you’r talking about an ex you’re not to fond of and if the doctor slipped and cut his d**k off you’d probably be allright with it, LOL! As the doctor says in the article, a reversal is at best 50% effective as far as achieving pregnancy, and NOT covered by insurance( as oppsed to they’re all too happy to cover the ‘snip’ since it means they won’t be paying for babies). At a party a little while after the deed with the same friend. His wife and her girlfriends (all a little ‘buzzed from alchohol) start ‘ragging’ on him , insunating that ,I don’t know’ he’s somewhat ‘Less of a man’ because he can’t make anymore babies? She apparently took it upon herself to tell all her friends while I was the only one he told. Most of the women present thought it quite funny.

          • You’re right, bobbt, had I know then what I came to find out later, I would have “accidentally” bumped into the doctor, not just because my ex cheated on me, but because of what he did to his daughter and what he tried to do to my 16 year old sister. Trust me, my anger is well deserved.

            And it probably has something to do with his horndog ways, but Chad, he was ready to go on Sunday, after having his vasectomy Friday afternoon.

            I can’t believe women would say a guy is less of a man because of a vasectomy. That thought never even entered my mind. If anything, he’s more of a man, because he made a decision like that. That’s showing some responsibility, in my mind. After struggling with various birth control options for several years, I love that we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

            • Barbara, I’m glad things worked out for you and your new man. I hope the choice you both made help keep you happy and healthy. It’s been many years since that party I described, but I NEVER will forget the site of that woman and her friends laughing at that poor man who did what he did out of love for a woman that definetally didn’t deserve it! I decided right there that I would NEVER get ‘snipped’. My friend had a couple of serious relationships after his divorce, but none lasted. He could never afford a ‘reversal’ (about 20K back then, I can’t imagine the cost today!) I never asked of course, but I couldn’t help but wonder if his inability to pro-create affected his relationships afterwards.

  7. I wouldn’t call this debunking myths… more of casting a generalized net.
    I am definitely a proponent of vasectomies. Hell, I’ve broadcast it to the world the last couple of weeks via 3 separate blog posts.
    Generalization #1: Though I poked fun at the seriousness of the pain in recent articles, it was still very real pain, though it only lasted long enough for the local anesthetic to take affect.
    Generalization #2: Sex after 3 or 4 days!? I call BS!!! I wasn’t about to bump my boys against anything for 2 maybe 3 times that long… and like most me, I love sex (my wife’s hot, who wouldn’t).
    The rest of it, I’ll take his word for. I will say kudos for bringing awareness to this permanent birth control method. I look fwd to the additional articles.


  1. [...] on whether or not to get one. “It is the safest form of permanent birth control,” says Dr. Stephen Siegel, in our Q&A with him on the process. We’ve highlighted a few contributors responses on [...]

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