Young Man’s Vasectomy Leads to Later Regrets: A Cautionary Tale

 

One man regrets his vasectomy but loves the life he’s made with his partner

My story could be considered “cautionary” in nature.

First, the back story. About 10 years ago, after many discussions with my partner, I made the concrete decision that I would get a vasectomy. She had been on the pill for the entire time we had been together, but we were both getting worried about long-term side effects.

At that point we had been together for six years and though I had always wanted to have children, she did not, and no amount of debate on my part would sway her. The dream of being a father was a deep one for me, as I loved children and wanted to share my life with at least one. Over the years I came to understand why my partner didn’t want to be a mother, and I fully supported her decision. I came to realize that I loved the reality I had with her more than the dream of being a father.

My family doctor was supportive but quizzical as to why a “man in his prime” would want to lose the ability to father a child. I gave her my reasoning, and though I don’t think she fully agreed with my position, she signed the request form.

Here’s the comic part. The surgery was supposed to be an “in-and-out” day surgery that should have only been about 30 minutes. Mine ended up taking a little longer as the surgeon had a resident with him, and they looked at my testicles as teaching tools. The surgeon performed the steps on one side and took all of 10 minutes, very professional from my perspective. The resident, who happened to be an incredibly beautiful 20’something woman, had a much harder time performing the same steps. The tube they need to cut is quite slippery and hard to pull up to the incision. She took about six tries before she was able to expose the tube and make the cut. There was something very comical about a beautiful woman digging in my crotch that I couldn’t control myself and I started to laugh. The resident, surgeon and nurse all started to laugh with me, and it made for a very enjoyable experience, as enjoyable as a woman man-handling my fully anesthetized crotch in a room full of strangers could be.

And on to the cautionary part. 10 years after my surgery, 16 years into our relationship, and at the age of 40, my partner changed her mind in regards to being a mother. She and I had some very long and very deep heart-to-heart conversations about becoming parents and how the heck we were going to do it. We researched the various options available to us. All had various benefits and costs associated with them, both medical and financial, which had to be weighed.  In consultation with a urologist, we decided that a “vasectomy reversal” wasn’t a viable option as the scar tissue on a 10 year old vasectomy makes it harder for a successful re-connecting of the tubes. This makes for a lower chance of surgical success and I would need about 6-8 months of healing time before sperm would even show in my ejaculate. After more consultations with fertility specialists, we decided to go with IVF and ICSI.  (http://www.advancedfertility.com/icsi.htm)

My partner is now 33 weeks pregnant and both she and the baby are healthy and happy.

My final cautionary comment is that the financial costs, the emotional costs, and the psychological costs associated with these advanced fertility procedures are very high. Yes, a vasectomy can be reversed, and yes there are other ways you can have children, but please learn from my example. Be very, very, very, very positive that you are fully committed to having a vasectomy.

—For information on vasectomy reversals, please visit the website of Dr. Harry Fisch

—Photo by Neal/Flickr

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About Arthur MacMaster

I live in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada with my wife Cynthia, daughter Sara; and a menagerie of 2 dogs, 2 cats 3 fish and a lobster. Quite chaotic at times!
I spend my paid time organizing the Search and Rescue teams in the Territory, and as much of my free time in the great outdoors that surrounds me.

Comments

  1. wellokaythen says:

    Very good, very honest, and sobering advice.

    The lesson I would draw is that if you are sure you want children, then there is a chance you’ll regret having a vasectomy. That makes total sense to me. I don’t know how you get a vasectomy when you want to have kids and not be resentful of your partner.

    In that situation, if you are thinking really deeply and completely about having a vasectomy, pros and cons and possible regrets and all that stuff you should consider, then you ought to consider the option of breaking up with that partner. Consider ALL the options fully. Don’t thoughtlessly stay with that partner while giving all your attention to the possibility of getting a vasectomy. Honestly evaluate your relationship as well as your reproductive choices.

    And, I’d also say you can’t live your life in total fear of every possible regret. Regret isn’t the end of the world. It can be massive and debilitating or minor and “what if…?”

  2. Planning is key. One thing to remember frozen semen can be stored for as long as 50 years without additional sperm deterioration beyond that caused by the original freezing process. There is an annual maintenance fee but it is very affordable.

  3. This is another clear case why the failure of the Federal government and the refusal of Planned Parenthood to fund the trials that would bring RISUG to the US from India are absolutely unconscionable.

    And I really, really, really don’t get why GMP, as a so-called responsible voice for gender equality cannot make the funding of RISUG, and other non-hormonal, effective, reversible male birth control an editorial priority.

    Condoms fail, in practice, 15% to 17% of the time according to numerous studies. Condoms are 350 year old technology. It is simply not acceptable to still be relying on abstinence and condoms as the major recommended methods of male birth control. RISUG has worked for over 10 years in trials in India.

    Lisa, Tom, Robert, at long last can you please stand for a policy solution that promotes male equality and ends the heartache and expense and forced choices described in this article?

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