Message for Young Men
Message for Young Men
If you are less than 30 years old and you have had fewer than 2 children, please consider the following points before having a vasectomy:
- You may regret it. Men who have vasectomies when they are in their 20’s, especially if they have had fewer than two children, may be the ones most likely to seek vasectomy reversal at a later date, often regretting their vasectomy decisions if their reversals are not successful.
- You may change. Many men who think they will never want children when they are in their early 20’s are delighted with fatherhood when they are in their 30’s. You may be totally convinced now that you will never want children, but people change and you may have a much different outlook 10 years from now.
- Women change. Similarly, women who have no desire for children when they are in their early 20’s may have a much stronger desire when they are in their 30’s and when many of their friends are having children of their own.
- Relationships end. Since more than 50% of American marriages end in divorce, you may not be with the same partner ten years from now and a new partner may have a much stronger desire for children than your present partner does. So just because your present partner claims that she will never want children, her tune may change 10 years from now, or she may not even be your partner 10 years from now.
- The philosophy of you and your partner with respect to abortion should be considered. If you are both not philosophically opposed to abortion, you have some back-up should other forms of contraception fail, and having a vasectomy now may not seem as critical to avoid an unintended pregnancy. But keep in mind that if she gets pregnant, the choice is hers.
- Vasectomy should be considered a permanent and non-reversible procedure because vasectomy reversals are not always successful.
- Young men should consider Sperm Storage. The companies who provide the service will send what you need directly to your home, you can collect the semen specimens in the privacy of your home, and you can mail them back to the company in the storage container provided. Imagine meeting a prospective partner years after your vasectomy. You fall very much in love with her, but you know that she will someday want children. You can tell her, “I have had a vasectomy”, or you can say, “I have had a vasectomy, BUT I banked sperm for future use.” Now, which do you think will sound better to her? In her eyes, either you did a foolish thing years ago, or you made a responsible decision with good foresight. In one case, you may lose the girl; in the other case, you win her heart. So sperm storage can be a very smart thing, well worth the investment.
- Have you discussed your decision with your parents? If not, consider this: You’re an adult, yes, but they helped you get there. How would you feel if your son came home one day and said that he had had a vasectomy? That he had done something to limit his future potential (to be a father) and to limit your own potential (to be a grandfather). How would you feel, after nurturing and guiding him for over two decades, if he did something to profoundly influence his future, but did not have the respect or courtesy to just tell you about it beforehand? As with many decisions in life, change the question from, “Should I tell my parents?” to “What can I do that I will never regret?” Would you ever regret not telling them? Probably, especially if they are hurt as I, as a parent, would be. Would you ever regret telling them? No. Having a vasectomy is still your decision, but at least you granted them the respect of letting them render an opinion. And if they succeed in discouraging you, because they know you better than any doctor does, you may one day thank them.
All of this said, I recognize the fact that most of us know someone whose girlfriend said she could not get pregnant, or conveniently “forgot” to take her pills, or even poked pinholes in his condoms. And I recognize that our judgments can be impaired after a few drinks so that we are less inclined to cover up or pull out on time. Indeed some men perceive the risks of not getting a vasectomy to be greater than the risks of getting one. We must all be masters of our own destinies, and that is easier if we think through all of the implications, alternatives, and potential consequences of our decisions.
If you have never caused a pregnancy, how do we know that you are fertile? The question is important for two reasons, which vary in importance depending on the age of the man considering vasectomy.
Young men (let’s say, men under 35): Young men who opt for vasectomy before fatherhood are more likely so seek vasectomy reversal in the future than are men who choose vasectomy when they are in their 40’s or 50’s. If a young man who has never caused a pregnancy undergoes a vasectomy, then years later has a reversal that is “unsuccessful” (no sperm to the semen post-reversal), how do we know that he had sperm in his semen before his vasectomy? 1% of men have no sperm in their semen (azospermia) and a larger percentage have a low sperm count (oligospermia). It would be nice to know this before your vasectomy in case you ever opt for a vasectomy reversal. Indeed, if you have no sperm in your semen, there is no reason for a vasectomy in the first place!
Older men (let’s say, men over 35): Nearly every man takes chances now and then by not using contraception despite the fact that he doesn’t want to cause a pregnancy. Alcohol impairs one’s judgment, and couples take more risks under its influence. If a man has reached his late 30’s without ever causing a pregnancy, especially if he has failed to use contraception on a number of occasions, he must begin to wonder if he is fertile and whether he even needs a vasectomy.
So for various reasons, both younger and older men who have never caused a pregnancy should have their semen checked for sperm before undergoing vasectomy. Since adopting this policy in June 2012, we have already encountered one man (age 44) with no sperm in his semen. He was delighted that he did not need a vasectomy, but wondered how much money he had wasted on condoms all those years!
We offer this service at no charge prior to vasectomy for registered/scheduled men who have never caused a pregnancy, that is, men who have made the deposit and scheduled a vasectomy. If you live close to the south east of Ireland and plan to have your vasectomy at one of our south east offices, please bring a semen sample on the day of your vasectomy. If you live far from the south east and plan to have your vasectomy at any of our service sites, please ask us to send you a mailer so that you may send us a semen specimen before your vasectomy. If you have no sperm in your semen, you will save yourself a trip and an unnecessary operation, and your deposit will be refunded. If you have few sperm in your semen, we may encourage you to have a formal semen analysis at a clinical lab near your home so that you will know your baseline semen parameters in the event that you ever opt for a vasectomy reversal.
If you are not ready to schedule a vasectomy but would like to determine whether there are sperm in your semen, you may purchase a home test kit at your local pharmacy.