Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm Getting a Vasectomy

Well, it's settled. I'm getting cut. I'm doing the old 'snip, snip'. My little swimmers will soon be no more.

I'm getting a vasectomy.


I have to admit that the decision was harder than I thought it would be. And I'm not even referring to the realities of the medical procedure.

When I first considered this option I didn't really see a coherent argument against it. None of the arguments I came across (“what if you find a person you love who wants kids;” “what if you change your mind;” “not having kids is selfish;” etc...) were really all that persuasive given my motives, my preferences and my own internal ethics.

And then something happened. I'm not sure how I can even describe it. Let's just say that I suddenly felt a twinge of existential guilt. It was almost as if the universe itself could somehow get pissed if I voluntarily eschewed a fundamental imperative shared by all living things. As much as I tried to shake it off I couldn't help but think that by getting a vasectomy I would be committing a crime against nature itself.

And then, just as suddenly, I found a solution to my dilemma that made sense to me. Why not make a bargain with the universe for the right to get a vasectomy? Surely I could offer the universe something more valuable than the chance to nurture a brood of future bike-riding, nature-loving, list-focused, sex-crazed Jacks.


Dear Universe,

I'm sure you know by now that I'm all about getting a vasectomy. Before you say anything, you should know that I've always been a very big fan and I really, really don't want to piss you off. That is why I want to make you this proposal:

let me have my vasectomy and, in exchange, I commit to spending a certain amount of time and energy every year having a direct, positive impact on children's issues. I'm also going to allocate a certain amount of money in my personal budget to help children in some way.

Now, I know I haven't quite figured out how this is going to work, but I want you to know that I am committed to this.

So, what do you think? FYI, I might make an appointment sometime next week so let me know ASAP.

Take care,



J.H. Moncrieff said...

Good for you! It takes guts to make a decision like this. I always knew I didn't want children, and I tried to have a tubal ligation when I was in my twenties. My doctor tried to talk me out of it, and said it would be very difficult to find a surgeon who would "fix" a woman so young, the stereotype being that *all* women will want children at some point. So I let the matter rest. Now I'm 36, still swallowing a daily dose of chemicals to keep me child-free, and wishing I'd got it done a long time ago.

bill h said...

my gut reaction, is that part of the internal calculus could be that should you ever want to have children, you could adopt. There are lots of adoption options of foreign, and foster kids.

Jack, to quote the great Buddy Miller, 'you worry too much'

Jerry Critter said...

You can always freeze some of those little "swimmers" and there is always adoption. And who knows, you may marry someone with kid(s).

Rhiannon said...

My kids have plenty of "adopted" aunts, uncles and grandparents, plenty of whom have decided to not have children or can't have children of their own. As a single mama, I could never thank them enough for the love they give to my own.

That being said, I'd never have any more either.
Sometimes you just know what you know. This sounds like the case for you. Way to step up and be bold! Better to know now anyhow than after an accident and your a sudden father. It's hard to reverse those sorts of things. ;)

Kamala said...

Too bad you're not in Seattle. is awesome, nearly pain free, and you get a swiss army knife! Seriously, my wife and I made the decision a few years ago. Great decision to make when you realize that parenthood is not in your path.

Me said...

Hmmm... I'm sure you will get nothing but accolades on this decision.

I won't bash your decision because after all, it is your decision to make. If you feel that strongly at such a young age to not have children, then that's how you feel.


Making a bargain with the universe over a decision that you feel sure about, is mildly contradictory, in my opinion.

If you don't want children, that's your choice. But why are you promising to help other children out in this little bargain? Is there some hidden guilt about this decision that you haven't explored? Why do you feel the need to pay some child back?

There are people in the world that love and embrace children. And we support most things that have to do with children. We do it because we love these children, these little impressionable souls that are amazing. We don't do it because we didn't want children and we may slightly feel guilty about this want...

I personally think that vowing to help some child some where does not rectify your decision to have a vasectomy. Just have the vasectomy. It's your choice, not the universe's choice.

Sara Outdoors said...

Hi Jack! (Note to self, do not repeat that on airplanes if you see him).

Initially I was gonna type something about freezing your sperm or the idea of adoption/fostering someday. Then i realized that these were the types of options that someone like myself who does want children would suggest as a sort of "backup plan for parenting"

However, I realized what you're saying. You DON'T actually want maybe you don't care about having that kind of insurance.

Therefore, stepping out of my own parentage-friendly mindset...I think that what you're doing is just fine - for you, so long as thats what you really want. And I think your concept of helping the kids already in existence is a noble and worthy cause that could use intelligent people like yourself.

As for "one day"...the way I see it - there will always be orphans, one. And two, the "right woman" would probably turn out to be a female who also doesn't want children. I think the question to ask yourself is: "Am I so sure that I don't want kids that I want to be able to GUARANTEE it to myself that I'll never have them?" If the answer is yes - then I'd say....well the answer's yes.

Best of luck to you on what you decide. The choice at the end of the day is yours to make, I hope a blog comment from myself or anyone else doesn't influence your decision toooo much! :)

SF Kid said...

Comments above all right on. I had a couple kids when I got cut but that was always the plan and my wife agreed (even before marriage). Two and done.
But it does take courage and insight to know yourself well enough before having any that you don't want any. Adoption, frozen samples, etc., are insurance but may not be necessary in your case.
I know if I ever had to re-marry (not likely) I would not have more kids, would prefer a woman whose kids are grown and gone, and I'm beyond adopting.
Good luck w/ your decision. (It's not really that painful - routine!)

Chris Burrows said...

Hi Jack, I always feel I am about to be arrested when I say that!

To state the obvious not an easy decision; I adore my kids and grandkids, but I was born in 1940, it sounds stupid , but I didn't even consider there was a choice!

You sound like someone it would be good to reproduce, where I live I see way too many poor kids born of alcoholic pregnancies with FSAD, the most brutal form of child abuse.

Anyone can have a kid, a quick fuck and voila!

We need more thoughtful people to have kids, I will not try to change your mind but I think you might make a lovely kid and a good Dad.

Unknown said...

I have this eerie sense that I'll be reading a post in a year or so about the fabulous woman that you met, intend to marry and spend the rest of your simple life with. Oh, and she has 3 kids of her own.

Suz said...

I am "older and wiser(?)" like Chrows25, but from those who I have known over my lifetime who do not want to have children, it seems they all had a lousy childhood with parents and families who were less than desirable. And, some of those I have known have definitely had regrets about not having kids.
I don't know if any of this applies to you, and you may have had an idyllic past and a "Leave It To Beaver" family, but please look into your own issues and be positively certain before you get snipped.

PS If you do intend to ever get married, your dating pool is going to get a lot smaller if you are honest about your situation. I know most of the women who write to you are in agreement, but the majority of young, eligible women out there probably wish you wouldn't do this.

PSS If you were my son, I'd tell you to make your own decision, of course, but I would encourage you to evaluate your motivations (the ones you are aware of, and the ones that you keep buried) carefully before doing this.

Scott said...

Good for you, Jack! I went for a no-scalpel vasectomy 7 months ago at the age of 25 and am thankful for the procedure every time I think about it. I had a loaded weapon in my pants for years--a weapon capable of irreparably worsening my life for 18+ years. For anyone you know who is on the fence about the procedure, have them read some essays about "childfree" living. It will help them realize that it's a great choice for the environment and for their sanity.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, Jack. I'm not going to tell you you're making the wrong choice, but minds change. I'm a 35 year old woman who for the first time in her life wants to get pregnant. I never thought I'd want that- ever.

itgotweird said...

You didn't mention the really important cons of the argument, like "Complications", "Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome". Everyone is different, and just because one person had a great experience, doesn't mean we all will. You also mentioned bike riding. I used to race bikes until I got a vasectomy, it has been over 5 months, and I still can't ride without considerable pain from PVPS. Just something to consider in your Pro/Con list.

Deke said...

Dear Jack,

All the universe wants from you is for you to contribute your unique experiences to it in positive ways. The great thing about that, since the universe imbued you with free will and self-awareness for a purpose, you get to decide for yourself how. That is a sentient being’s only true imperative.

You are not selfish for not wanting kids. I don’t want kids either, but I wouldn’t characterize either of us as selfish people. As you pointed out, not having kids gives you an opportunity to reallocate your resources to be unselfish in other ways. You need not even consciously focus that unselfishness on children specifically, as you being you will have an immeasurable ripple effect. Many in history did not have children, and still changed the world for the better. Just focus on directing positive energy outward. Though more indirect, children will be positively affected nonetheless. No one is an island.

I say go ahead and freeze some swimmers for insurance; that's good advice from Jerry Critter. Change is the only constant in the universe, and it’s always smart to keep options open. Embrace your decision guilt-free.

Existentialism and philosophizing aside, there’s a somewhat (though you have to wonder) tongue-in-cheek site out there I’ve found to be an entertaining read. Sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, occasionally disturbing, it’s worth a peek while they shave up your goods pre-op.


A bird in da hand said...

Interesting: a bargain with the universe? What makes you think you can bargain with the universe? The decision is ok ofcourse, you can do whatever you want and I think everybody believes your good intentions....except yourself maybe? Why bargain? I don't understand?
I mean: could you decide not have a vasectomy and still look after other childern, anyway?

Wish you luck (and safety) and wisedom on your decision!



Dawne said...

Best of luck with your Vasectomy! I'm a firm supporter of adoption myself (being someone who was adopted) but am in the (kinda) same boat as Story Teller.. They REALLY don't want women to 'get their tubes tied' especially if they haven't already had kids... Well good luck again and I hope it goes smoothly for you :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Jack,

You don't owe the universe children. You don't even owe society children. There are plenty of children already. I think it's great that you want to help other kids, and I encourage you to do so, but I believe that the decision to not have children is in itself good for others and needs no justification.

Obviously, you should be pretty darn sure that you don't want biological children before doing this as it may not be reversible. This can be hard to do because there's always the "but what if" and just the expectation that everyone ends up having kids. So, if you have any nagging doubts, you need to know where those are coming from. But, frankly, you don't sound like you really want kids.

And, personally, I don't think we need reasons to not have kids, I think we should have reasons TO have kids. It is, after all, a big deal to bring another life into this world and it is a HUGE responsibility that lasts a lifetime. I'd much rather risk not having kids and regret it than have kids and regret it.

Because of that, and because my husband agrees, he's getting a vasectomy soon (and so you may realize who I am, but I hope you can understand why I'm not using my name). We've weighed the pros and cons and, while I don't believe it's the right decision for everyone, it makes a lot of sense for us and we already wish we had done it sooner.

As far as what other people have mentioned about "What if you meet a woman who wants kids?"... Well, if you don't want kids then I don't think she's the right woman for you. I think it's sad when one person in a relationship decides to go ahead and have kids they don't want because the other person wants them. Sometimes it works out and I'm happy for those people, but I don't think it's a good plan. Yes, you might have a smaller dating pool, but in dating as in many things it's quality not quantity that counts - and quality is finding someone with compatible values and wants.

As a woman, I actually think it's rather chivalrous for guys to take responsibility for birth control. It's generally much cheaper, safer, less unpleasant, and more effective than the alternatives, but so many guys would rather have their partners get their tubes tied then have anything done to the "family jewels". With more and more women deciding that they don't want kids, or don't want more kids, I'm sure there are women out there who would see it as a plus, not a minus.

And, also, it helps prevent accidental or coerced pregnancies which you then have no real say over - a real concern for some men.

Fonk said...

I think "Me" raises an interesting question, and "itgotweird" made a very important point to consider.

My wife and I have had our kids and feel we're done, and so I've considered getting the bit snip myself. However, I have read of the cases of chronic PVPS, and it gives me chills, especially as a cyclist. I know the odds are like 1 in 2000, and I have cyclist friends who have had the procedure and had no problems, but you never know if you're going to be that one instead of one of the other 1999....

donna said...

BIG DECISION... but i think you are being really responsible, if you definitely don't want kids it's the way to go. Far better than risking getting someone pregnant and then walking away and not dealing with the consequences like a lot of men do.

Jo said...

I'm a 39 year old woman who has never wanted kids.

I retrained a few years ago and I now work as a speech & lang pathologist in a special needs school. I have about 90 children, ages ranging from 4-15, on my caseload. Most are deeply loved (although not always understood) by their families, but some have had unspeakably horrendous starts to their lives and are very damaged emotionally (as well as cognitively/physically).

I love hanging out with them, playing silly games, chatting, just being a friend. I am dedicated to improving their ability to communicate so they can better enjoy their lives. My 'work' (= my reason for being on this planet) immeasurably improves MY life too.

And I love coming home to a quiet, calm house at the end of the day, to recharge and enjoy my other interests (mountain-biking, piano etc).

Best set of choices I ever made, and I see nothing wrong in not wanting to have kids of my own, but enjoying the company of the existing ones and wanting to help them.

So I know EXACTLY where you're coming from, Jack.

Good luck.

Mini Me said...

Coming from the perspective of a woman who doesn't want kids, being with someone who has had a vasectomy is a big plus. Luckily I'm dating someone who has had one and it makes everything easier and simpler. It was a tough decision but I feel completely comfortable with it and know it's right for me. That's all you need to know, that it's right for you.

Debbi said...

I think the decision is entirely up to you. You don't have to bargain with the universe or explain it to anyone else, because it's nobody else's damned business.

Having said that, you should assume you won't be able to reverse the procedure, if you change your mind. So, bottom line--how sure are you that you want no kids?

That's the only question that really matters. And you have only yourself to answer to on this.

Anonymous said...

@Suz I know lots of happy, well adjusted people from happy families. Some have kids, some don't. People with unhappy childhoods also can go on to become good parents.

Taking responsibility for kids/no kids instead of just going with what is expected is a good idea.

Michelle said...

Freeze some of the potential babies just in case you happen to change your mind someday. We are ever changing as human beings. Our minds can turn into something completely different in a year, 5 years, 10 years. I know people who have had vasectomies and froze some potential babies and used them and never used them. At least it keeps everything from being so final.

Fr. Ken said...

Hey Jack,

A few people have asked me about your decision, since I'm a Catholic Priest and post occasionally on your blog or on Facebook.

But, we're created with free will, which we can all use as we wish. While I don't agree with your decision for an encyclopedic number of reasons, you do appear to have put a lot of thought and consideration into it, and it's your decision to make.

Despite the negative press the Catholic Church gets, and the number of struggles I have often experienced in trying to live a chaste celibate life, I'm very thankful of the choices I've made. I experience a great amount of freedom, but the challenge is always how to use it wisely. I can say that I am still learning and growing in wisdom.

As for sterilization issues, I'll share a story dear to me. It happened over a hundred years ago.

A young man and a young woman met and fell into what they thought was love, but what was more likely simply a great and passionate love affair. In time she found she was with child, and a great decision ensued... what to do?

They ended up not getting married. But she bore the child and he was raised in her family with a lot of love and acceptance.

You can probably guess how this turns out.

But the child was my grandfather, and if they had self sterilized or aborted I would not be here. So I am very grateful they were quite productive, even if it was a mistake and not in their life plan. They did have other options. I commend their bravery and greatness.

Enjoy life. And as ever, Keep it Simple!


in Christ,
Fr. Ken

Anonymous said...

30 year old childfree woman chiming in.

Good for you, Jack!

There are already too many people on the planet. Our oil-based lifestyle is totally unsustainable, probably within our own lifetimes. Only those who have put serious thought into the matter, are emotionally and financially secure, and have a deep vocation to parent should have children.


Also, as a childfree woman, I would LOVE to meet a man who has had a vasectomy. I am considering sterilization myself, but I am hoping my partner will volunteer for the snip, as it's so much easier, cheaper, and safer than me undergoing a tubal or even Essure. However, I would never pressure him into the decision. So we'll see what happens.

I always assumed the day would come when I wanted kids, but it hasn't. I realized in the last couple of years that I really have a choice, and I've determined that I feel no desire to give birth or parent, ever. It is perplexing to me why so many people, especially those who are not emotionally or financially prepared to do so, continue to pop out kid after kid. Now THAT'S selfish.

Good for you, Jack. Good for you.

A man who knows his own mind is very sexy.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck. I think your soul searching answer is a good-one. With your legal expertise it would be lovely to do something about the sex slave industry in India.

I always thought my children would come later in life, i.e. 40-45 y/o. When I was 39 I was diagnosed with an ovarian tumor. The only way to find out if it was malignant was to cut it out. I made the life changing decision to cut that and everything with it out. It was the best decision I ever made. Something I wonder what it would be like to have a child, and but I have no regrets. I took myself out with a friend on this mother's day.

Good Luck with your cut.

tubal reversal said...

if you are ready for this than i just say GOOD LUCK....... it has a reversal procedure like tubal reversal but think before do.


Do it! 2 thumbs up for vasectomies.

Shannon said...

I think it's great that you're taking your fertility into your own hands (or scissors, so to speak). It's not selfish, it's responsible.

A few years back, I broke off a relationship with a guy because I wanted kids and he didn't. I respect that he was honest with me, and so I took him at his word. I wasn't about to wait around with the hope that he'd change his mind. To do so would have been living in a fantasy world, as well as disrespectful to the guy.

So, bravo, and good luck with the snippity snip.

Tamika LaShelle said...

Hiya Jack!!

Freeze some little guys and remain available to all the good the universe may have in store for ya.

It would be a deal breaker if the sperm was not there for me to at least try and carry one child from my future husband. Adoption and fostering are great options but carrying a child is a big MUST DO for me. I'm sure a lot of other women feel the same.

There now you have my 20 cents *2 cents ten times over*

Love is.... TL


By the way, forgot to mention, my boyfriend got a vasectomy when he was 19. also I think that it is the best thing in the world when a guy shoots blanks :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jack,
Sorry I am "late to the party" when it comes to comments as I really wanted to take some time before I responded.
As a 40 year old woman who does not have children and probably won't now that I am older, I don't have regrets. I could've done the sneaky thing and got pregnant by any of my previous relationships but there was no way I would ever do that to men I dated. I did not want to be a single mom or bring a child into this world without a two parent loving relationship. I also work with children every day. I run a Head Start program for 400 plus children.
I have seen so many children abused, neglected, children living in cars or moving from place to place. Some families have no heat or running water, and parents who barely can parent. I wonder why some children are given such crappy beginnings in this world. But yet, every day I get a thousand hugs, a million smiles and love from every one of them. For a few hours each day I get a chance to give back for all that they give me. I can go through this life knowing I may never have children of my own, but I am loving 400 kids who need it.
Your decision to not have children doesn't mean you can't be a "big brother" or if you really do want to help children, your legal skills would greatly needed. You just might be surprised that you can give just as much without having to be a "dad" at all.
I applaud your step up and live up to your "bargain" you made with God. Take your legal brains and help some children out in this world.

Rebecca The Greeniac said...

This post and discussion are just fascinating to me. I have never in my life understood why anyone would think that not having children is "selfish". It just makes NO sense to me. If anything, I would say that the opposite is true.

Not that all people with children are selfish... but I've met plenty of them. You know the type, people who have kids because they want to live vicariously through them, or because they're afraid of being lonely, or because they want the "experience" of being a parent, or the worst of all, because they want someone to love them. What they fail to recognize is that having kids isn't about what YOU want or need, it's about what the CHILD wants and needs.

There's also an arguement to be made that not procreating is the environmentally responsible thing to do. I'm not totally sure how I feel about that one, because obviously we, as a species, need some children in order to contine to exist. But more and more I am coming to the conclusion that there are just too many people on this planet! So in terms of making bargains with the universe and promising to do something good for children, maybe not contributing to over-population is gift enough to the future generation.

Thanks for a thought provoking read.

Yours in Frugal Green-ness,
Rebecca The Greeniac

Anonymous said...

Its a personal choice, U dont owe anyone anything. You live with it or without it. You are much more of a responsible person to get a vasectomy than to have a a child you are not able to raise responsibly or willing to raise.

I love my daughter, and she is number one in my life. but all the other kids I haven't had I don't miss.

More power to you!

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the massive ego-trip/mind-set of a man who thinks the Universe is SO f*ing invested in HIS personal procreation that not doing it is something to feel guilt about.

Srsly, dude... you ask the Universe for its 'ok' everytime you shave your chin? Because growing hair is as natural a function as having kids. Also just as much a personal choice.

Get over yourself.

GreekGddss said...

So, did you?

Voluntary Simplicity Hank said...

The Universe and humanity send a heart-felt THANK YOU!

Best move you'll ever make.

Now, please consider retroactive abortion as a viable way to protect both nature and humanity.

mysophia said...

Jack...the universe doesn't give a shit if you have kids or not. Grow up and do yourself and others a favor, and get a Vasectomy....please.

Cara said...

I'm childFREE by choice, have written extensively on the topic. Now age 58, a widow of 4 years, I still have NO regrets. Instead of worrying about needing permission from the universe, the universe is thanking you a million times, especially nature and the earth, for NOT breeding and adding several more people to an already over-crowded, dwindling resources planet. Hope you took the step, and if so, here's a hearty congratulations. There's a lot of childfree folks out there, and you can find many on the internet.

tubal ligation reversal said...

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