Janice’s experience: Regrets after husband’s vasectomy

Your website is the first place where I have seen this subject explored.

My husband was adamant about not having more children (we have three), and although I kind of wanted one more, I decided that my desire was unreasonable and that he was right. However, after years of IUDs, condoms, and other pesky forms of birth control, I decided that since he was really the one who did not want more children, he was the one who should be sterilized. Down deep, I think I wanted to punish him.

The night before the procedure I began to realize that this might not be right for us. I asked him if he would cancel the appointment if I changed my mind. He said no, which was a really stupid thing to say. I was stupid in my silence because I should have confessed to him my fear that I would not find him as sexually attractive.
As is usually the case, I wound up punishing myself. As soon as I saw those severed vas tubes in the little bottle (they had to be tested for something), I knew it was a huge mistake.

I became depressed and very upset, which continued off and on for some years. I asked my husband to have a reversal, which he regarded as insane. When he told his urologist of my response to the vasectomy, the urologist recommended a shrink.

As a result, we have lived uncomfortably in the post-vasectomy years ever since. I have never regained my sexual attraction to him, which he regards simply as a reduced libido (although I told him that being sterile reduced my attraction to him). He dismisses it as crazy, and that is that.

I have never recovered from my resentment toward my husband, nor my anger toward myself for not being more forceful when I had doubts. To this day, (and this was years ago), I cannot drive past the building where the procedure took place without feeling like a rock has dropped into my stomach, and I could cry uncontrollably as well.

My point is this: physicians who perform this procedure need to fully discuss this with potential patients and their wives, and try to make sure that such painful regrets will not be experienced after the procedure is completed. There were several warning factors that my husband’s doctor never mentioned: such as conflict over the procedure beforehand; the husband having the surgery to please his wife without being convinced that he wants to do it, and one spouse (me) dominating the other. Had these points been explored, and had his doctor warned me that conflict prior to the procedure resulted in women being 25% more likely to regret the surgery, I think I would have opted out.

This single factor has had a seriously detrimental effect on my marriage and contentment, and I hope that people will be warned more effectively than I was at the time.

Submitted by Janice

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