Andy’s experience: Marie Stopes Vasectomy


My wife and I both had children early, so at 40 we have my wife’s son who’s 20, and mine, 18. We’ve been together 15 years, married for 10, and have a daughter of 8 between us. We love our kids to bits but definitely feel we’ve done our bit for repopulating the species so had come to decide that the unkindest cut of all was the way to go. The problem has been trying to fit it in around work etc. We tried in vain to find mobile surgeons who’d come out to your workplace like car valets smiley. But then I accepted a new job and was in the process of working out a ridiculously long notice period so this seemed the perfect time to have a few days of sick leave.

Because of needing to fit it in we went private and decided to go with Marie Stopes who use the no-scalpel method. It’s not the cheapest (£400) but we figured that they’d have a lot of experience and their profits go to their work on sexual education / sexual health so that can’t be a bad thing. Living in Staffordshire, UK, the choice was between their Manchester and central London clinics. Manchester is physically closer, but a drive up the M6 motorway with very variable traffic conditions. London is only 90 mins by train, and their vasectomy clinic is on a Friday giving the weekend to start recovery, so we went with that option.

Vasectomy day: Friday

The clinic was a 10-minute walk from Euston station and I seriously suggested to my wife that I thought I’d be OK to walk back afterward. She just shook her head in a manner suggesting that it was probably just as well my genes weren’t going to make any further contribution to human evolution. First things first, they get your money off you before you can back out and then on to a short counseling session. I’m guessing that as we were both there they saw that we were obviously committed to this as a couple and I did wonder if the session would be more intense depending on your circumstances.

Then we were separated. My wife to the waiting room, me to the business end of the operation deep in the bowels of the building. Seriously, there was a pleasant waiting area with reclinable seats. The receptionist down there told me that some partners won’t wait in the waiting room, but stay in the upstairs reception so their menfolk can’t run off at the last minute. The guy before me came out of the procedure room looking a bit white and then it was my turn to be called at about 2.00 p.m.

In a small changing area I was instructed to remove shoes, socks, and trousers and to keep on my underpants and to wrap around a sarong type thing they’d given me. I’d followed instructions and swapped my usual boxers, for a fetching tackle constraining number. I would have felt a bit like someone from a dubious seventies adult film except for the fact that my privates had taken on a mind of their own and were obviously trying to retract far enough inside my body so they couldn’t be touched. My scrotum had reduced to about 10% of its normal size and was so thick and wrinkled I felt that the doctor would need a circular saw to get through it. Not only that but I wondered if the doctor might suggest that there was no point in going ahead as with my penis now not extending outside of my groin there was no way I could impregnate anyone anyway.
The doctor had obviously seen it all before though. I got onto a table pulled my underpants down to my knees and the table was tilted slightly backward. This was where I started my usual dentist technique of closing my eyes and attempting to imagine I was on a sunny beach (it never works by the way). The jab for the local anesthetic wasn’t quite as bad as one at the dentist. It felt numb initially, but I needed another little jab as he cut in. There then followed a period of strange tugging, but it wasn’t painful. The smell of the cauterization was a bit gut-wrenching and I think maybe the right side was harder for him than the other (seemed to take longer) but it was over within 10 minutes. He then proudly showed me his handy work, I refused the offer of him signing it, a dressing was applied and it was back out to the recovery room.

Despite normally being a black coffee man, I went for tea with three sugars as did Mr. White’s face who was still there and looking much better. After 15 minutes or so I was given a letter for my GP and told me that when I was ready I could go to the toilet and check everything was OK and then leave. I’d probably recommend not wearing Dr. Marten boots as these weren’t the easiest to put back on and do up. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to be looking for, but it seemed that everything was still there and there was a little blood in the dressing but no geyser type spurts so I assumed that was in order. I rejoined my wife and counter to my previous suggestion we took a taxi at about 2.45.

Our train was at 3.15 and given the hoards of people joining it, I was very glad we’d booked first-class seats. At about 4.00 I began to notice the anesthetic wearing off so the last 45 minutes of the journey weren’t the greatest. I took some over the counter paracetamol/codeine/caffeine tablets which provided pretty good relief just before we arrived at 4.45. After the short car trip home I needed a pee (I had done for a while but didn’t want to inspect the damage in the train toilet). I needed to remove the dressing to pee, but it was only really held in place by my underpants. The dressing was quite bloody but the incision was clean and after standing for a few minutes, I peed with no pain.

The evening was reasonably uncomfortable. It felt a bit like recovering from having had a jolly good kick in the nuts. I swapped between lying on the sofa and pacing the room a bit, had pain killers every four hours (the last hour being pretty bad), and tried to stay up as late as possible to be tired before going to bed. Slept fairly fitfully but didn’t have any more pain killers during the night.

After the vasectomy

Day 1: Saturday

Got a lie in as everyone else rushed round to get ready for swimming lessons etc. and eventually woke up properly at about 9.30 to no pain. A certain amount of discomfort but nothing you’d need pain killers for. My dressing was really just a gauze pad covered by a pad and only held in place by my underpants. I’d been told to keep it on until Monday and to then swap it for the new dressing in my aftercare pack. However, as I needed to remove it to pee I thought I may as well replace the gauze with clean pads so did so. The incision seemed to have stopped bleeding altogether.

During the afternoon as I became a bit more comfortable about inspecting the damage, I could see some bruising forming around the base of my penis. I also developed some quite noticeable and hard swelling on the right side of the bottom of my groin to the right of the penis base. This was uncomfortable, not directly painful, but hurt a bit like a kick in the gonads if pressed. This concerned me a bit as I wasn’t prepared for it so I rang the Marie Stopes 24 hour nurse hotline. They reassured me that this didn’t sound like anything to worry about.

Day 2: Sunday

Took it easy again today. Nothing much new to report although I’d expected by now to be a bit more mobile than I was. When I got up, there was a tiny spot of blood on my dressing, swelling in the groin was still there, possibly reduced a bit. Rewarded myself with a couple of glasses of wine in the evening.

Day 3: Monday

At last allowed a shower today which felt great, still very tender though. Did as I was told and used dressing from the aftercare pack although there didn’t seem much point now as the incision was well and truly sealed.
Walked 300 meters to pick my daughter up from school. Obviously fairly hobbly as one of her friend’s mums came to ask me if I was in pain. I took a deep breath and said at the top of my voice so everyone around could hear. “I’m fine but I had a vasectomy on Friday so my nuts are a bit sore”. Actually, I thought this wasn’t a conversation for the school gates so muttered something about a twisted ankle and tried to get away before she pressed for detail.

Walking back realized movement still quite restricted so began thinking that I’d need the rest of the week off rather than going back to work on Weds as planned.

Day 4: Tuesday

Started off well but decided to arrange the rest of the week off (at least), staying at home but in contact by email, etc. Felt like swelling was less uncomfortable. Had a shower and did away with dressing. Spent the day checking email, reading, doing light housework. Extended my walking distance by going to a local shop before picking up my daughter and here I really began to feel like I’d overdone it. Struggled walking home after meeting her and had to sit down for a good while. My groin swelling and testicles really began to ache during the evening, needing me to take first pain killers since Friday. It seemed to me that the bruising was much more evident and my scrotum appeared quite swollen. As well as the pain, this was beginning to concern me a bit. Had an early night and no alcohol.

Day 5: Wednesday

Woke to feel much better to the extent that we carried out an experiment to determine the current working status of the equipment. To my relief, everything seemed pretty much in order and I’m looking forward to much more of this serious scientific investigation.

Celebrated extra days off by pretty much staying in bed reading, emailing, and web surfing. This was when I found this excellent website which I wish I’d found before the op. The problem with many web accounts is that they’re self-selected by men who’ve had a nightmare. It was great to read accounts from a different perspective. Also, the official line seems to be that either you have a serious complication or you should be back to work within a couple of days. No grey areas. It was great to read about guys whose experience was basically OK but had strange aches and swellings like me. As I indicated before, we’d decided to do this and I don’t mind a bit of pain accompanying it, but it’s the worry that the pain may indicate a serious problem that’s more concerning.

It was particularly good to read that the right side can be a bit more difficult and others had had similar groin swellings. I also began to wonder if the two-hour journey home immediately after was the best idea after all. Maybe I should have been a bit more ready to do what I was doing today and essentially staying in bed.
One other thing I’ve noticed is a sort of low feeling in the pit of your stomach which I think is a result of having been “interfered” with. I’ve been pretty lucky medically but I did have a nasty burst appendix and peritonitis about 14 years ago, and this feeling reminds me of my recovery from that. It’s a bit daft really as the body trauma from the appendectomy was much greater. I also wouldn’t want to overplay a vasectomy, it really puts what women have to go through for childbirth into perspective, even without complication. The trauma to the body from a vasectomy doesn’t really compare.

I drove for the first time to pick my daughter up and couldn’t imagine a drive of any length just yet, but felt a lot better than I had done the previous evening.

Day 6: Thursday

Woke feeling better again today apart from realizing that my good mood yesterday had led to one too many glasses of wine. Alcohol-free night tonight I think. Definitely, best day so far, drove a bit further, 7 miles to the local town for a visit to Marks and Sparks. Time to stock up on more fetching figure-hugging briefs. Reckon I’ll be wearing these for a couple of weeks yet so it made sense to invest in another pack and you can’t beat Marks for products such as these.

Still get odd groin twinges and walking not yet up to normal speed. Think that’s partly psychological though, trying to protect myself from pain rather than actual pain. Also bruising to the scrotum is coming on a treat, it’s a riot of color down there. Every time I lower my underpants I’m magically transported to a New England fall. I may advertise for coach parties to come and take pictures.

Day 7 to 9: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Getting better all the time, movement, and walking nearly back to normal. Still catch an odd twinge when I’ve forgotten about it and made a sudden movement but other than that not much more to report. The scar on the incision fell off on Saturday and everything seems to be healing well, bruising going down gradually. Did all the things I’d normally do at a weekend (but think I’ll stay away from the bike for a few weeks yet).

Day 10: Monday

Back to work today and still doing OK. I have a pretty sedentary job and being there, or the 1-hour drive commute each way doesn’t seem to have upset my recovery. I’d say I was now 90% back to normal. Certainly, no ongoing pain, just the odd twinge to remind me if I overstretch or sit in the wrong position, more tender to the touch than it was before, and bruising aren’t completely gone. Hopefully, I won’t now need to update this account until I get tested in just under 3 months.

As a summary, it was fine and I’m still very glad we decided on doing it. The recovery took slightly longer than anticipated, basically, it took 9 days to get to where I expected to be after 2 days. But having said that, a week is nothing and it’s not as if I was in real pain during that time. Hope this account might be useful to others who don’t know what to expect.

Submitted by Andy

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