Vasectomy age requirements: Are you too young?

This is a question younger men often grapple with when considering a vasectomy, and the answer should take into account a number of considerations. We’re going to break this question down into three broad categories: legal, medical, and personal.

While the laws governing minimum vasectomy age will vary depending on country and jurisdiction, in the United States, any man who is over 18 years of age and mentally sound is legally able to have a vasectomy. From a legal standpoint, what you do with your reproductive system as an adult is entirely up to you.

The medical answer

While a man may be legally allowed to have a vasectomy as young as 18, doctors are not legally required to perform the operation if they feel uncomfortable doing so.

Doctors have a professional and ethical obligation to do what they feel is in the best interest of their patients. For some doctors, this means not performing a vasectomy on men who they feel are too young to make the decision responsibly, or who they worry may regret their decision later on in life.

A doctor’s position will vary depending on the physician’s own personal morals and values. This means that you may get different reactions from different doctors when you request a vasectomy at a very young age. Some doctors may outright refuse to perform vasectomies on younger patients while others will perform the operation with little or no resistance.

You may also find that some doctors will take a middle road, agreeing to perform the operation but requiring a “cooling down” period to ensure the patient is making a sound decision.

When making their decision, doctors will look at factors such as the marital status of the man and the number of children he already has. Doctors are generally more comfortable performing vasectomies on men who are married with kids than single men with no children or spouse.

Personal considerations

Some men view vasectomy as a safe and effective form of birth control that will provide them with a lifetime of spontaneous, worry-free sex. While this opinion isn’t necessarily wrong, it is misguided.

Even though vasectomy is often referred to as birth control, it should be considered as a form of permanent male sterilization. The only way to have children after a vasectomy is by using banked sperm along with some form of artificial insemination or by getting a vasectomy reversal. Both routes are costly and are never guaranteed to work.

Studies have shown that men who have vasectomies at a very young age are more likely to regret their decision and/or have a vasectomy reversal later in their life. Here are some points to consider:

  • One study found that men who have vasectomies in their twenties are 12.5 times as likely to have a reversal than older men.1Potts J, Pasqualotto F, Nelson D, Thomas A, Agarwal A. Patient characteristics associated with vasectomy reversal. J Urol. 1999;161(6):1835-1839. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10332448
  • 90% of vasectomy reversals occur because the man meets somebody who wants to have children.2Shah Z, Ganta S, Morgans B. The trends of vasectomy reversal in the forces. J R Army Med Corps. 2003;149(4):265-266. doi:10.1136/jramc-149-04-04
  • Vasectomy reversals are not always successful.
  • The longer a man waits after his vasectomy to have a reversal, the lower the chances of pregnancy.
  • Vasectomy reversals are expensive and are not usually covered by insurance.

It’s also important to remember that a vasectomy will not protect you from STIs (sexually transmitted infections), so condoms will still be necessary unless you trust your partner.

References and further reading Vasectomy-Information.com has a strict sourcing policy. We rely on evidence-based medicine, peer-reviewed studies, reputable clinical journals, and medical associations. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Potts J, Pasqualotto F, Nelson D, Thomas A, Agarwal A. Patient characteristics associated with vasectomy reversal. J Urol. 1999;161(6):1835-1839. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10332448.
  2. Shah Z, Ganta S, Morgans B. The trends of vasectomy reversal in the forces. J R Army Med Corps. 2003;149(4):265-266. doi:10.1136/jramc-149-04-04
  3. Ariel S. Tazkargy, From Coercion to Coercion: Voluntary Sterilization Policies in the United States, 32 Law & Ineq. 135 (2014). https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/lawineq/vol32/iss1/5
  4. § 54.1-2974. Sterilization operations for persons 18 years or older capable of informed consent. Code of Virginia. https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title54.1/chapter29/section54.1-2974/
  5. Labrecque M, Paunescu C, Plesu I, Stacey D, Légaré F. Evaluation of the effect of a patient decision aid about vasectomy on the decision-making process: a randomized trial. Contraception. 2010;82(6):556-562. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2010.05.003

Medically reviewed by

Dr. David Tyson, MD

Review date

May 28, 2021

Authored by

Vasectomy-Information.com content team

Last updated

June 17, 2020

Comments (29)

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Please note that the comment section is not moderated or reviewed by doctors, and you should not rely on advice or opinions given by other visitors. Always speak to your doctor before acting. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

  1. I know of three men in their 30s who are paying child support payments on children they fathered in their early 20s before they were married. In one case, the man is paying for two children from two different mothers. Of course, men should support their children. These men did not want to become fathers so early in life and have not had additional children because they can’t afford the cost on top of the child support payments. The paternalistic attitude of urologists that they won’t do a vasectomy if they feel it is not in the best interest of their patient is maddening. Certainly, some men will regret their vasectomy later in life and they have the option of attempting a reversal that might not work. Nevertheless, the doctor should offer medical advice which includes the costs and success rates of reversals. The doctor should not refuse the procedure without considering the possibility that not having the vasectomy could result in the man fathering children he did not intend to father.

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  2. My Dad, my Uncle and two of my brothers all had vasectomies and all had multiple children after reversing them. No big deal. It’s much better birth control than anything women have to do because there are no hormonal side effects.

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  3. I had a no-needle, no-scalpel, open-ended vasectomy a month ago, pain-free, no swelling, no bruising, didn’t walk funny, didn’t need ice packs or pain medication. My only regret is being told no for so many years, every time I asked for a vasectomy.

    Looking back, I would have been fine getting sterilized at 18.

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  4. If you weren’t that egocentric, you would adopt a child why pay $8000 for a baby of your own with your characteristics if you could adopt another baby and invest $8000 more in her/his education. With so many children being abandoned, it’s such a selfish act, as a species, to decide to produce your own specimen instead of adopting and probably saving another, already alive, a child from a highly probable miserable life. Maybe the child you could adopt but opted to ignore by choosing to have a biological son will grow up to be your son’s killer in a failed robbery. Butterfly effect. Your choice can impact the world, your life, and of others in such a strong way, and you can’t even imagine it could be possible.

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  5. I think you should wait. I am 25 years old with two children, and my husband is 28 and doesn’t want any more. He would rather me go on birth control than get a vasectomy. We have been together for over five years, but you never know anything could happen, and we may meet other people and want more children. I always feel like it’s so permanent because reversals are not guaranteed. My aunt wanted no part of kids at all and said it a thousand times, but when she turned 30, she suddenly wanted a child now she has two! You never know if you will change your mind or meet someone that wants a child. Wait till at least 25-30.

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  6. I’ve had a vasectomy for over 30 years, and I’ve met a younger woman and plan to get married soon. I’m 55 years old. What are the chances with it being reversible? My fiance is 40 years old, could she become pregnant?

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  7. Wow, this page has been helpful to hear all the different perspectives on getting a vasectomy before having kids. I am 27 years old, single, and am tired of not having a real 100% choice with birth control. I have had a couple of pregnancy scares, but none have resulted in a child. What scares me the most is that I may get the “wrong girl” pregnant. During the pregnancy scares, I was resolved to staying with the person if the baby was born. I guess when it comes down to it, that is just the choice I know I would make.

    I have been banking sperm for the past four weeks and plan to have a vasectomy soon. After speaking with the urologist at the sperm bank, he strongly advised getting one done unless there was a genetic defect. I still want the ability to have children through in-vitro fertilization or through adoption. I don’t believe that the doctor didn’t truly understand or at least couldn’t relate to my reasons for desiring to have a vasectomy. I have put quite a lot of thought into the decision and can’t come up with any serious deal breakers for me.

    I plan to let future girlfriends know that I have “been fixed” but can still have kids via in-vitro fertilization or we can adopt. If they can’t deal with that, it probably isn’t the right match anyway.

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  8. Hi, I’m 19. I’ve been married to my husband for two and a half years. He’ll be getting a vasectomy in a week. We’ve thought it through since early into our relationship, we not only chose to do this because we don’t like children but because I have a serious heart problem that can be passed onto my kids if I were to have any and that was a risk that I am and never will be willing to take. Some of us have reasons to do the things we do, and some of us do it for the hell of it. Either way, it’s our personal choice.

    All the best to you.

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  9. I’m going to be 32, and my wife will be 33 later this year. We have no kids. Personally, I think we’re too old to start a family now anyway, but my wife disagrees. I have always known I did not want children. My wife always wanted a couple of children. She married me because I told her I would give the whole family unit thing a thought. Well, I have thought about the subject, and I’m still sure I don’t want any kids. I feel bad because I’m stringing her along on a lie — heck I’m even considering getting a vasectomy done in secret. Then I could just play it off as if I was always infertile. I should have done the procedure when I was 21. I could have told her right from the beginning before more feelings were felt.

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  10. Hello, I am a 25-year-old male. I have a son who will be five at the end of this month. His mother and I split up a little after he turned three years old. I myself am considering and looking into getting the vasectomy surgery done.

    As far as your question, I do not think you are too young to be considering a vasectomy. I do think the fact that you don’t have any children yet is a factor, though. I do think you should not be too hasty and consider other things as well. There are a lot of “what ifs” when it comes to this decision because it will ultimately determine what happens in your life. Let’s say you get married; “what if” things don’t work out; then, would you be able to deal with the fact that you won’t be having kids with anyone else? Why hasn’t your partner decided to get her tubes tied? Remember, if things don’t work out, she will be able to have kids… you won’t. There’s a lot of thinking that should take place.

    My decision for the surgery is because I do not want to be a statistic and father more kids with different women. My son is enough for me, and I love him dearly. I thought I was still going to be with his mother, and we did have marriage plans. Things just didn’t work out. What if I had the surgery done before my son came about? All I ask is that you sit down with your partner and discuss the “what ifs” because they can happen. I hope this helps. Good luck.

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  11. Shauna’s post sums up what I wanted to say when I read Erica’s posts. If only we could get all the ignorant people to get fixed… Does that make me a mini-Hitler? Meh, whatever.

    Anyways, as long as you and your girlfriend have thought this out, and you’re prepared to never have your own children, I don’t see why you can’t have control over your own body. The only thing I’d worry about is the strong bond many fathers feel with their natural children, and if you guys can’t adopt because of a technicality or find that it isn’t the institution you guys were hoping for, this could have a serious impact on your life. I’ve heard of these operations being reversed, but it’s very rare.

    On a completely personal note, I respect the hell out of you guys for being so mature and logical in your lifestyle. I’m 21 myself, and my boyfriend is 23, and we’re planning to adopt after we have one or two of our own, but taking out the option to ever have your own child seems a bit rash. If you’re going to do it, I’d really really recommend freezing some of your sperm just in case. Hardly takes up any space in the freezer!

    Good luck with your decision. Have a great day!

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  12. The earliest I have heard of a guy ending his fertility career was 18, but that was after the birth of twins and a clinic that didn’t ask too many questions. Since your question was asked a long time ago, you may have gone ahead with the decision to forego fertility and biological fathering. If so, it may well be still a good choice for you. If not, consider “banking” sperm beforehand and keeping the option open for a period of time courtesy of frozen storage. Then, go visit your clinic for a fifteen-minute milestone event. Whether that milestone is a millstone or a delight will unfold in the years ahead.

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  13. Hi! I am a 25-year-old mother of two. I have been with my husband for six years, and we are looking into him having a vasectomy. I have no desire to have any more children, and I’d like to go back to work fulltime before I am 30! I am selfish in wanting to be at home until both my boys are in full-time school! One is five and the other two and a half. In my heart, I don’t feel I could willingly care for another child. I have only ever wanted two, and so has my husband. We wanted one of each, but we were blessed with 2 of the same! It doesn’t matter to us! 2 is still the limit!

    My point here is that I believe in the ‘each to their own’ kinda outlook. If “21 and Confused” wants a vasectomy… good on him! Children aren’t for everyone, and when you know…you just know! It’s called a gut feeling! Mate, my two cents is that waiting for another 2 – 5 years, would be a wise idea! You never know what the future holds! But… I do think it is incredibly unselfish of you to want to care for and raise a child, whose parents didn’t give a shit about them or couldn’t afford them. Whatever the reason, every child deserves a home, and every child deserves to be loved and treated well, and if you feel that you can offer that to them… then bloody go for it! It just goes to show, regardless of your age, and that you don’t want biological children, that you are a man full of pride, love, and common sense!

    Best of Luck to You!
    Nicole, from Australia.

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  14. I am 20 years of age, and I would agree with the writer, I live in Utah, a place very on the “having kids” side of things. I have been around kids all my life and been an Uncle half my life, I have never had a slight interest in kids. I think they are gross and extremely annoying. My fiance is the same way, we have decided to wait to get married or even have sex till I get a vasectomy to not even have the slightest chance of kids.

    Back to Utah, living here, it is extremely hard to find a doctor that will even talk to me about a vasectomy because I haven’t even had kids. We are most probably waiting till 25 anyway, but by 21, I may just make the decision to move to another state and get my vasectomy because I am so sure now I don’t want kids. Most of my family has tried to push kids on me my whole life, so it kind of scared me away from them. I don’t understand why people think that vasectomy is so bad, and the earth is overpopulated as it is, there is no need to add to it. There is a lot of kids, not baby’s, but kids to adopt, and people say to wait and use condoms, well they break. Birth control, some people can’t use it; my fiance has allergic reactions to all birth control; her period lasts for weeks on end with it. Some people should let us make our mistakes. If it ends up that way, well, that’s just another person in this screwed up world with one bad chapter to their life. Animals need homes too. Thousands die every day, and they have no voice. If you ever go to an animal shelter and see a kitten, it will die in two weeks without question, unless it’s very slow in the shelter, or it gets lucky. Take a minute to think of what you can have without kids. People think of what you miss out on but think of all the people who are adding to the population right now, over 1,000,000 a day to the world, over 11,000 in the US. Do we need to add to the population, making the pollution worse, and tearing the world up even more?

    This is all just in my opinion and a few other people I know, I am not trying to offend anyone, or attack anyone, but I just wanted to make a point. Thanks.

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  15. Dear 21 and confused,

    As a fellow male who’s always been opposed to having kids, I can empathize. I recently turned 30 and have always known that I didn’t want kids. I’m planning to get a vasectomy as soon as my new insurance kicks in.

    While I won’t call you names like some other individuals here, I would say from my own experience that you may want to wait. Your early twenties are probably going to be the most unstable and transitional years of your life. If I were in your shoes, I would wait until at least 25 at the earliest. But I think 30 is a good age. By 30, you’ll probably have a better sense of direction in your life, and you’ll have a better idea of what you want.

    Good Luck

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  16. I have to agree with Ashley. I didn’t expect those words to be coming from someone in her thirties. I mean, really, abortion as a form of birth control. Sure, if you really can’t handle a kid or you’ve been raped – get an abortion, it’s your choice. Though, you could give the baby up for adoption. There is NOTHING wrong with him getting a vasectomy as long as he has really thought about it.

    Now I have to say; I think he should wait until he is actually married – just to be sure. Believe me, not saying the relationship won’t work out. Just caution. Again, nothing wrong with vasectomies. My husband wants to get one – actually, we both want to get fixed just to be sure. I am already twenty, and he will be in May. Been dating since sophomores and have been married for over a year. But we don’t want kids. Lots of healthy problems: diabetes, arthritis, depression, alcoholism, eating disorders, drug addictions, obesity, breast cancer, endometriosis. Now we don’t have all of those things, but they do run in the family. And then there is the fact that this world sucks. I mean, you can’t blame someone for not wanting to raise a kid in a world that revolves around war and destroying the planet. And I agree if it comes down to it that you decide you want kids – adopt! I mean, no one should grow up in the system. It messes people up.

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  17. Wow. At 32, one would really think that you would have enough sense not to attack someone who is just asking a question because you had a bad experience. And to recommend abortion as opposed to getting a vasectomy? As a woman, you really should know better. Abortion can be an extremely traumatizing experience that comes along with both physical and mental health risks.

    I am 23 and am in a stable relationship with a 21-year-old man, and we both want a vasectomy. We have absolutely no desire to have kids. We both have a history of depression and other emotional problems that have been passed down in both of our families, and we have no desire to pass that on to anyone else. And as for adoption, OF COURSE, it’s expensive, and you have to be on a waiting list for a long time, and you might not get an infant, but those are all things that anyone with half a brain knows just because it’s EXTREMELY common knowledge. You can’t expect to walk into an adoption agency, pick out a baby, and then walk out with it. These are children we’re talking about, and it’s not like going to the animal shelter. And if your biggest problem with all of this is money… then you really don’t need kids in the first place because guess what? They’re expensive! This is also pretty common knowledge. I just had to reply to this comment because it was a completely ridiculous response to a very honest and simple question.

    And because the thought of this person raising a child is one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard. The last thing the world needs is another person who was raised by someone who would teach them that abortion is just another form of birth control. And couldn’t even spell or form a sentence correctly. And that’s my 2 cents.

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  18. You think you know everything at your age and whatever. But you don’t!!! Pull out, use a condom, abortion anything, but don’t get a vasectomy until you are older! You really think you know what you want, and you may, but I also thought I knew what I wanted at 21, and so did my husband. We didn’t ever want a kid, and he got a vasectomy at the age of 21. well, now we are 32 and want kids. We realized we have everything, and in the end, when it’s just you the dog and the same man for 15 years, you want something more something you cant have. That’s a child, and we got a reversal and spent $8000. for it not to work. Reversals rarely work. At 21, we didn’t care or ask. Now we have to do IVF another $30,000, and we just could have pulled out or used birth control. Whatever. Just think about it and about the adoption thing. We thought the same thing. Reality check – that also costs $30,000, and if it’s free, then they have a handicap, and you rarely get an infant, and it’s invasive and not personal, and it just flat out sucks. It would be different if they didn’t make it so hard to do, but they do. I’m warning you, you will regret it. Whatever you do, this is fate, and whats the chances of me just finding this website with the same story sort of that I had years ago.

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    • Some people know what they want at that age, not everyone will regret it. Also, you shouldn’t be suggesting getting an abortion as an option. If you regret getting the vasectomy later, you will also regret doing the abortion too, and pulling out method doesn’t always work since pre-cum can get a woman pregnant as well.

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      • My fiance has wanted a vasectomy for a few years now. The doctor turned him away at first. I’m urging him to try again, considering I’m in the picture. I’m eight years older and have four kids of my own. I’m done, and he doesn’t want biological children. I have a ten year IUD, but we are just that adamant about not wanting kids.

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    • I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site. I’m hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own web site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a great example of it.

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    • Omg, so sorry to hear your story. I couldn’t imagine going through what you guys are going through… I’ll pray for you and that your IVF works. Good luck to both of you ❤️

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    • It is so pleasant to see you using the “r” word, particularly at a time where women’s abortion rights are at an all-time low.

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    • I’m sorry, but you are not wise, just stop. Adoption is a viable option, costs a good amount if done in the USA, but there is plenty of kids overseas that only cost 5-10K, including plane tickets. (I was adopted). It is true that life goals and wants change, but in this case, there is always adoption, so there is no good reason not to get one, we have WAY too many people on this planet. And to be honest, I am 90% sure YOU wanted kids, you hit that age where your body tells you that, and being a good husband probably went along with it and said he wanted kids… maybe that’s not your case but its the norm.

      Young guys, get it. Not doing so can ruin your life (Career/finances/relationship/traveling/etc.) there is ONE negative, some women won’t get in a relationship with you because they want their blood/genes to pass down. That’s instincts/tribalism, and if you have an IQ over 115, you shouldn’t be with someone who runs on instincts anyways. And let’s say you do regret it… boo hoo you make tons of decisions at your age that will affect the rest of your life, it’s not a big deal for the guy at least. And back to overpopulation, at least you are not part of the problem.

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    • When I was in my late teens, I knew of a few people in their 40’s that didn’t have kids. They were very happy. I knew then it was a no brainer. Got snipped at 22 (With no kids and not married ) – now at 58, life is good. A lot of people my age are giving their grown kids money and/or raising their grandkids.

      Reply

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