I got a vasectomy a few months ago. If you follow me on social media this is old news as I documented the experience (not the actual procedure, just the before and after stuff). This experience revealed something to me: this is a topic that is not discussed enough. For reasons I will get into shortly, vasectomies are an important part of men’s health and essential to conversations about sexual and reproductive health. So why aren’t we talking more about them? Can we have a conversation about vasectomies?
Now that I’m a few months out, I feel like it’s a good time to share some of my thoughts on the subject. It’s still fresh in my mind, but I’m removed enough to have had some time to reflect. So here you go, six things I learned from recently having a vasectomy.
1. We are uncomfortable talking about vasectomies. It’s one of those things that is whispered about, but not a part of the public discourse when it comes to men’s health. I think it’s a shame and that it actually is fueled by shame and unhealthy masculinity. There is an aspect of our culture’s view of masculinity that is tied to the ability and/or choice to reproduce. This is evident with jokes about “being neutered” or “losing your manhood. All phrases I heard during my experience (and maybe even participated in to a degree). Let’s put an end to that, shall we?
2. Yes it’s my body, but the decision to get a vasectomy was collaborative. We all might find ourselves in different scenarios when deciding on a vasectomy (single, partnered, married, etc). We approach this decision differently based on those situations, but because this is not a *reversible procedure, I would advise taking some time to think it though, even talking with people you trust. I’m married and so it was important to make this decision in partnership with Sam. It was a physical, emotional, and financial decision that would impact our future. Were we really sure we didn’t want any more kids? What if something happened? As hard as it was to talk through some of those scenarios, it was important to be real about life and what it might hold. There were definetley moments I was unsure. It was strange to voluntarily opt out of something I’d always had a reverence for (having children) and giving it up sounds strange even as I type it – but those feelings were there nonetheless. In the end, I decided that at thirty-six years old I was done with having more kids. We are blessed with two beautiful, healthy children and I could not ask for more.
3. Vasectomies don’t work right away. A few weeks after my procedure, a friend tagged me in the comments of Facebook video where a couple got pregnant a few weeks after the husband had a vasectomy. They were shocked and made statements like “no one told us” and “why didn’t the doctor go over this” – all of which I have a hard time believing. A five-minute internet search on vasectomies will tell you that it can take a few months to flush out all the remaining sperm in your system. For example, I got my vasectomy on December 29th and I’m still not in the clear. In my case, the doctor and staff were very thorough about the procedure, recovery process, and when I could be officially “cleared.”