I was 43 at the time and we already had two kids: a daughter and a son.
Laura had been using various forms of birth control for years and she was tired of it. I suggested that maybe she should just have her tubes tied. She countered that it was a complicated and expensive operation.
“Getting a vasectomy is a simple thing,” she said. “It’s really no big deal. And besides, it’s covered by our insurance.”
A vasectomy is touted by health officials and medical websites as the safest and easiest method of permanent birth control for couples. The operation, which takes about a half hour, can be done in a doctor’s office or an outpatient surgery center
It’s a simple medical procedure that involves a few snips in a crucial part of the male anatomy. The cuts are so small that no stitches are needed. Read more about the procedure here.
Simple or not, the whole idea of making myself sterile made me uncomfortable. I tried to make a joke of it.
“Well, what if there’s a nuclear holocaust?” I said. “They’ll be a demand for all fertile men to step forward to help repopulate the human race.” Laura wasn’t amused.
She persisted and I raised several, more serious concerns. What if one of our children died and we wanted to have another? What if Laura died or we got divorced, and I remarried and my second wife wanted to have more children?
After much discussion, we both agreed that no matter what the future might bring, neither of us wanted any more children.
Would it somehow affect my sexual performance? Could it be reversed if needed?
The truth is no, it doesn’t do anything to your sexual performance. All it means is that you shoot blanks. Yes, it can be reversed.
In fact, some doctors offer to store frozen sperm in case the person’s situation changes and he wants to have children again down the road.
I called a local urologist’s office and made an appointment. Once at the office, a woman with a lab coat and a clipboard pulled me aside in a back room and started asking questions. I asked her which doctor would be operating on me.
“I will,” she said.
Hold the phone, I thought to myself. A woman is going to take a knife to my boys?
“What’s wrong?” she said, sensing my anxiety.
Well, I answered, I just figured it would be a male surgeon. I’d never had a female doctor even examine me down there before. She assured me of her experience and competence and that another male doctor would be present in the operating room.
Afterward, my wife was shocked at my questioning of the doctor and said I was being sexist.
“What about male gynecologists? They look at, and touch women down there all the time,” she said.
She was right. I was just being silly.
When the day came, I was nervous. A sheet was put up, blocking my view. I was given the local anesthetic and the show began.
I was awake the whole time. I didn’t experience any pain, but I do remember the two doctors discussing what they had both done the weekend before – something about a trip to the Poconos. I thought, “For God sakes, quit gabbing so much—pay attention!”
Afterward, I went home and camped out on the couch the rest of the day, watching TV in my underwear. I followed the doctor’s orders and I iced the area as much as possible that day and part of the next.
My wife was incredulous how stoic I was, that I could tolerate the ice for so long in such a sensitive area. All I know is that it worked. I’ve heard of guys being sore for days afterward. Not this guy. I was back to work the following afternoon. The ice did the trick.
Nearly two decades later, “my boys” are doing just fine. Frankly, I never considered the option of freezing my sperm for future use.
Nuclear holocaust or not, I decided the world didn’t need any more David Figuras running around.
Photo: Getty Images