Nick’s experience: Childfree vasectomy story

My name is Nick. I am 25 and child-free. I had an open-ended no-scalpel vasectomy, with the upper ends of my vasa deferentia sealed with vas-clips, on June 20th, 2008, when I was still 24 years old. That was about 3 months ago. At 3 months post-op, I can state that I feel I have made a 100 percent recovery. I feel excellent and have no regrets!

I had wrestled with the decision to be sterilized for months and months; I felt quite sure that I wanted to be child-free, but I was very ambivalent about vasectomization, mainly because of the frightening stories I had read about PVP. I had made an appointment for the procedure in December 2007 and canceled for fear of PVP. I finally decided to go through with it in June, having talked with a friend who had the operation, and having found this very wonderful website.

I paid cash for my vasectomy – 860 dollars. My doctor didn’t give me a hard time about having myself sterilized, despite the fact that I was single and childfree. My doctor was a fairly lifeless fellow; he didn’t say much and didn’t ask much, and had no bedside manner at all. I had asked a nurse days ahead of time if I could have the open-ended procedure, having read that the odds of developing PVP are less with this variant. The doctor said he didn’t usually do it, but would do it if I wanted. His reasoning for usually not doing open-ended vasectomies (which made no sense to me) was that he thought the open-ended procedure had a higher risk for sperm granulomas developing. My understanding is that this risk is present anyway – 60 percent of men develop them, and usually don’t even know it – but with the closed-ended procedure, you also have the risk of back pressure on the testes. I chose the open-ended, and he did it, sealing my upper ends with clips, which worried me since I’ve heard negative things about the clips, but they have worked out fine for me, and, it turns out, for other men I know.

The most painful part of the procedure was getting injected in the scrotum with the local. It was like getting stung by a bee, twice. Then two brief waves of aching pain filled my balls, and then the pain was gone. He went to work on me, and it took all of 5 minutes! Literally, 5 minutes! I am not exaggerating at all when I say that I felt NO pain or discomfort from the procedure, though at certain moments he warned me that something he was doing might hurt a little (it didn’t, but maybe I’m lucky). I put on my athletic supporter and walked home (only about 200 yards away, luckily!) I don’t know if it was the local anesthetic or the adrenaline, but I felt high – kind of euphoric – for an hour or two after the operation.

I had a fair – but tolerable – amount of discomfort that first day, mainly a bizarre sense of “pulling” in my lower belly and in my balls. Most of the discomfort was in my mind, knowing what had happened down there. I barely used any ice and took only one Ibuprofen during my entire recovery. I did experience a powerful wave of regret about my decision that first day, feeling I had lost something so infinitely special in myself. That feeling lasted about an hour, and never returned with anywhere near that same intensity. I imagine I’ll have occasional moments of regret, but the feeling that I did the right thing is far, far greater – enough so that I would say I have no regrets.

I spent the next few days after the procedure taking it easy, lying around a lot. I didn’t develop any swelling, but I did get purple/black bruises on my scrotum. Laying still I usually felt no discomfort, but moving around would cause little twinges of pain in the balls, like getting kicked there, but lasting only a second at a time – this is why you want the athletic supporter! If your balls jangle around, it HURTS! I gave up the athletic supporter by day 4, and quickly went back! I needed it for 7 or 8 days, maybe more.

I tried masturbating on day 4. Everything still worked, but nearing orgasm I had the sensation of my balls being very uncomfortably squished – a very disturbing and worrying feeling, though it felt very good to orgasm. This squishing sensation lessened and finally was almost completely gone by 9 or 10 days.

I’m an avid bicyclist, preferring to cycle instead of using a car, and was able to ride again at about 14 days, but there was some discomfort on the bike until about 3 or 4 weeks post-op (mostly it was little bumps in the road that would cause some discomfort; cycling itself was fine.)

I had so much fear that I was going to be a PVP case. I didn’t heal as fast as I thought I should have. I had some pain when walking for around 2 weeks – just little twinges, totally manageable, but worrying to me all the same. I would have occasional random aches in my balls up to about 2 months post-op – they would usually last for a few minutes and weren’t really painful, but still noticeable, and they made me wonder if I would ever fully recover. Sometimes I’d get the slightest ache in my balls with an orgasm, but that, too, went away by about 2 months.
Since I tend to masturbate daily, I imagine it didn’t take even a month to clear my system out (I often studied more than once a day for my “sperm test”). I got my first all clear sample at the one month mark, and that was a wonderful feeling!

My basic feeling is that if you have a vasectomy, you should expect some aches and pains for as much as a few months (a friend of mine who had a vasectomy and is totally satisfied with it, said that he got some occasional pain/discomfort for up to 6 months). In my case, I can state with 100 percent confidence that even when I was having some aches and pains, if I had it to do all over again, I would have chosen to have the operation – no doubt about it! I figured I’d end up 99 percent recovered, and that was fine with me. In the end, I feel I have fully recovered; I have no pain at all, I feel as sexual as ever, and I have no emotional regrets.

My advice is that you should contemplate the decision for many months, and talk to as many people as you can about it. If you are child-free, talk to other child-free people, as well as parents. Choose an experienced doctor. Research and consider having a no-scalpel, open-ended vasectomy. If you have the procedure, consider an athletic supporter essential! Wear it as long as you need it. Stay inactive for a week if you can. Don’t rush sex or masturbation – if these hurt, just hold off for a while longer. If something is uncomfortable, abstain. Try not to let the fear that you aren’t recovering get to you – be patient. Full recovery may take a few months. I’d guess that 80 percent of the recovery happened for me in the first week, 10 percent the next week, 5 percent the next, and maybe a percent or two every week after that. That’s how it goes, I think. I think I first felt confident that I would recover and really be OK at around day 15 or 20; before that, I just wasn’t sure, even though I wasn’t bad off by any stretch. Just be patient and take it easy.

In my mind, it is totally worth it to have this operation. I can’t even see the scar on my balls (thanks to the no-scalpel method, I think); it’s like nothing even happened, both in terms of how I look and in terms of how I feel. The one thing I notice is that if I probe around enough, I can feel those vas-clips in there, and I can kind of feel where my vasa deferentia are separated.

Before I close, I’d like to briefly share my reasons for choosing sterilization, as they may help others make their own decision as to whether or not to have a vasectomy.

My main concern was and still is, overpopulation of the Earth. If the numbers are right – and I am fully willing to be critical of the numbers, but I also want to err on the side of caution – there are 6.6 billion humans on Earth, and the number is projected to hit around 9 billion by 2050. At the same time, we know that forests are disappearing at a rapid rate, the soil is eroding, and, according to USA Today, half of humanity is going to face water shortages by 2030. Meanwhile, we face peak oil production (oil production may already have peaked, according to some experts), even as worldwide demand for oil is rising (I wonder if people would fight wars for something like oil…hmmm.) And I could go on. Many would say that advanced countries have a low, even negative population growth rate, while the poor nations are the ones with rapid population growth. This is true, but it ignores the fact that it is the advanced countries that place the greater burden on the environment, in terms of consumption and waste, which is ever increasing in places like America. I have read that for an American to have one child is the equivalent of an African having 18 children. Because of overpopulation issues alone, I believe sterilization was the right decision for me and is a good decision for others. It should be said that there is NOTHING you can do for the environment that compares to choosing not to have children, or choosing to have no more children than you already have. Sterilization is a compassionate and responsible choice for those with or without children.

Beyond that, I greatly value freedom and independence. Children are very demanding in terms of time, patience, care, and resources. I would hate to be forced to work at a job I despise or to work more than I want to work just to be able to support a child. I enjoy having time and space to give to my interests (which some would say is a selfish thing, but the interests of a child-free person do not at all have to be selfish – I, for one, aim to work for peace and social and environmental justice). I like only being responsible for myself, not having to worry if how I am living is corrupting or hurting some youngster who has the misfortune of being mine. If I want to move, I can move. If I want to quit my job and be a bum, I can do that. If I want to work for almost no money, simply because it is work I love, I can do that. If I want to stay out all night, or visit friends, or spend time alone in contemplation, I can do those things because I’m not responsible for anyone but myself.

It’s interesting; people express so much worry that a child-free person like myself will come to regret being sterilized, but to me, it makes much more sense to have a vasectomy and regret it than to have a child and regret THAT.

I feel American culture is a terrible influence for children, with its celebration of violence, stupidity, and shallow consumer values, all of which make it difficult, in my view, to raise a balanced, responsible, compassionate child. I also despise compulsory education and daycare, but would probably have difficulties pursuing alternatives, due to how the economy and society, in general, are structured.

I would hate to be tied to a partner when we have grown apart – or have grown to despise each other – simply because we have a child together. And I would hate to put a child through a custody battle, or other such drama; I was in the middle of such nonsense as a kid, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else.

And last, of all, I love spontaneous, condomless sex with a trusted partner. Sex for me is play – spiritual, joyous, loving play at best, but still, play. This is so greatly enhanced when there is no fear of unwanted pregnancy.
I’m so relieved to have had my vasectomy, and I truly have no regrets. I wish more people would consider sterilization.

Submitted by Nick

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