So, guys. You and your wife have decided once and for all not to have any babies in the future, whether in addition to the ones you already have, or at all. Well, what are you going to do about it? Unless you want the expense and hassle of using prescription, or over-the-counter birth control for the rest of your child-bearing years, one of you is going to have to get “fixed.” I know what you’re thinking. No one is going to come near your “boys” with a knife!! I know you’re picturing the carnage that you’re sure to experience if you should choose to get a vasectomy, but it’s really not as bad as you might think! It’s not like we’re talking about castration!
In fact, if anyone should be running for the hills, it’s your wife. A tubal ligation is far more complicated, painful, and expensive than a vasectomy is. And if you already have kids, your wife has already gone through months, if not years (cumulatively speaking), of pain, cost, downtime, and sleeplessness due to your precious babes. Now it’s your turn. Just imagine how highly she’ll think of you for being her hero and sacrificing your vas deferens for her sake and that of your love life. She may even think of it as a romantic gesture! She may even be more apt to get “in the mood” if she remembers how thoughtful you were to spare her the major surgery that is a tubal ligation.
That’s right…I said major surgery. As in, a woman typically has to be put under general anesthesia to get her tubes tied. Not only that, but her abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide beforehand so the fallopian tubes can be located. This can cause your woman a great deal of pain for several days! Who do you suppose will be waiting on her hand and foot while she recovers? You! And who will be taking care of the kids, and the housework, and the grocery shopping, and…you get the idea. Not only will she be in pain, but so will your wallet. Tubal ligations can cost up to ten times as much as a vasectomy!
But let’s get back to your original fear: pain. First of all, modern vasectomies are a breeze. Easy for me to say, I know. I’m just a woman. I only have to expel human beings from my body, so what do I know about pain? Well I know that a vasectomy is painless enough for you manly men to endure. It’s such an easy procedure that you can have it done on your lunch break! Do, however, remember to bring a bag of frozen peas to keep the pain in check under your desk if you go back to work afterwards. Admittedly, it may smart a little. On second thought, it’s probably wise to take a half-day and recover at home.
So what exactly happens during a vasectomy? Let me break it down for you before you have a break down anticipating it! The first step involves making the very wise decision to have the procedure done, while sparing your wife from getting a tubal ligation. Next, contact your insurance company for pre-authorization. Most insurance companies will be more than happy to cover at least some of the cost of a vasectomy versus the cost of a pregnancy, delivery, and a new dependant. Once you have the go-ahead from the insurance company, make an appointment with your urologist, or general practitioner if he or she routinely performs the procedure.
During the actual procedure, you’ll be asked to lie on a table. Your “area” will be washed and shaved. Local anesthesia will be applied, and a small incision, or puncture will be made. The vas deferens are then lifted out, one at a time, and severed, clipped, or blocked. The incision may or may not require stitches to heal. If the thought of being conscious while all of this occurs makes you nervous, you can request general anesthesia. However, it will be more expensive and recovery will take longer if you should choose this route. Make sure you bring someone along to drive you home.
And that’s it! Simples, right? In and out in less than an hour. Post-operatively, your doctor may prescribe an analgesic to manage your pain, and you can also apply an ice pack directly to the area if you’re experiencing discomfort and swelling. Put your feet up and relax. You deserve a day or two of pampering for your valiant effort! Then it’s back to business as usual within a week of the vasectomy.
But not so fast! You may not be 100% sterile for up to six weeks after the procedure, so you’re still going to have to employ other methods of birth control until you get the “all clear” from your doctor. He or she will be able to determine if you can go “au naturale” by examining your fluid under a microscope to ensure there are no sperm present. Once you get the “all systems go” from the doc, you and your wife can enjoy a lifetime of worry-free unbridled passion! Sounds pretty good, right?
So what if you and your wife should change your minds down the road and decide you do want a baby after all? Though not easy or inexpensive, vasectomies can be reversed with a fairly high rate of success. It’s much more difficult, less successful, and way more costly, to reverse a tubal ligation. Think of all the money you could save by choosing the one over the other. You could spend it on beer, or fishing rods, or baseball tickets, or whatever it is that you men like to buy.
Men are supposed to be logical, right? Well, if you happen to write a list of pros and cons, it would be apparent that vasectomies are a far more sensible choice when deciding on a permanent method birth control. Your wife will thank you, and you’ll reap the benefits of her appreciation in more ways than one. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.