Love or Vasectomy?
For some couples, making the informed decision to start a family requires more than simply asking, “Do you want kids? Can we afford a child? Is our home adequate for starting a family?” Of course, there are impending obstacles throughout a woman’s pregnancy that can be very overwhelming, to say the least! Think: infertility, lingering health problems, birthing complications, etc. In addition, there are other circumstances that may cause an inability to conceive a child—because your MAN has already had a vasectomy! At the end of the day, sometimes the agonizing decision to not bare children is the ultimate (and unfortunate) choice.
If a vasectomy has reared its ugly head between you and your partner, the relationship is summoned to a few alternatives: simply be a family of two (if neither of you have children), adopt a child in the future, or quite simply, END the relationship. If you believe the power of your love is more important than the inability to have a biological child, than the relationship should remain blissfully consummated. On the other hand—if not—you might find yourself unexpectedly back into the dating world.
One of my dearest friends found herself in this unfortunate situation, forcing her to make a decision that would alter her future and leave her extremely heartbroken.
At the time, my girlfriend was dating a man who had previously obtained a vasectomy. While in his mid-twenties, he dated a woman who unexpectedly got pregnant. As a result, he made the well-informed and rational decision to get a vasectomy, to prevent conceiving a child again (out of wedlock). When he first started dating my close friend, he seemed fairly open to the idea of having more children; possibly reversing his vasectomy in the future. Seeing how much he loved his son, my friend was able to visualize a family with him—including a child of their own.
Almost a year into their relationship, she realized he had changed his mind. The verdict? He did not want any more biological children. Point blank…he had no desire to try to reverse his vasectomy. This distraught information left her to decide if loving him would be enough. Knowing that he had no interest in reversing his operation, she was left with a heart-wrenching ultimatum. Should she stay in a relationship (that could naturally lead to marriage) with a man who’s major flaw was having a vasectomy? Or should she end the relationship and find someone who would be willing (and able) to have children?
Let me just re-iterate, choosing love over a vasectomy is not an easy decision—far from it, actually!
Through my dating experience, I’ve noticed that vasectomies are more common procedures than you would think. Surprised? I was. At the going-rate, you would assume doctors are performing the surgery for free! So, how do you decide if the love for your partner outweighs your desire to have a child? First, is your biological clock ticking—how hard, how fast, and is it running out? Second, have you always visualized yourself having kids—and would you feel incomplete if you didn’t?
Who would imagine that for a woman in her 30s or 40s—interested in having kids—the five most important words she would utter from her mouth would be: “Have you had a vasectomy?” Sure, it’s a daunting question to ask, but if you don’t ask sooner rathern than later, then his answer could be the demise of what you hoped to be a happily-ever-after relationship.
Like I said, asking a man if he’s had a vasectomy isn’t as easy as asking him to pass the salt and pepper at the dinner table; this question could definitely be a deal-breaker...resulting in an uncomfortable and awkward conversation. However, it’s important to know if having biological children are a viable option…especially before progressing into a serious relationship.
Here are a few questions (in a precise order) that will be helpful in weeding out the possibility that you partner is interested—and able—to have kids:
1. Have you ever been married? Bitterness from a failed marriage might alter his feeling on getting married again.
2. Do you have any children? It is important to gage how he feels about having more children.
3. How old are your children? If the children are in their teens he might be (understandably) done having more kids.
4. If possible, do you want more children? Listen to his direct response. Most honest men at this point will tell you if they want children—or if they have had a vasectomy.
Here’s the thing, as women we want to believe that our Prince Charming will reverse his vasectomy—therefore giving us the opportunity to conceive a child. However, a vasectomy is meant to be permanent! I’m not saying that it is impossible for the vasectomy to be reversed—yes, there are men who have had it done—but the chances of the procedure’s success rate is low (based on the research I have done). Also, based on conversations I have had with friends, the percentage of men that are willing to reverse the operation is low-to-nada. Yikes!
Ultimately, finding a genuine, true love is hard enough. Finding love with someone who’s only “flaw” was getting a vasectomy at an early age can be awful—especially if you still want to have children (or at least have the option). With an increased emphasis on independence and fulfilling life-goals—prior to having children—women aren’t rushing into creating a family in their 20s; they are waiting for love, commitment, and job security first.
Unfortunately, we never know when cupid will strike his love arrow. When two people feel an instant chemistry, sometimes conversations concerning the long-term progress of the relationship are left unsaid. Typically, the woman is hesitant to question the man’s perspective on having kids—anxious to know if he has had a vasectomy; and more importantly, if he would reverse it. Can you really decide after a few weeks (maybe months of knowing someone) if you would reverse a vasectomy? The answer is probably, no.
Getting a vasectomy isn’t a decision that is made lightly. Most men give it a significant amount of thought beforehand. Either they are confident they won’t ever want kids, or they already have been blessed with children and are not interested in conceiving anymore.
It seems that men in their mid-30s (and older) are getting vasectomies as a form of permanent birth control. A vasectomy involves clipping and tying off the vas deferens, so that the sperm can’t enter the seminal stream. This procedure is considered, “permanent” (according to WebMD). Based on my interactions, most men do NOT think haphazardly when it comes to their male reproductive organs. Getting a vasectomy doesn’t sound comfortable…at all; however it is minimally invasive. All I can think of is a dog with a cone around its nect—cone of shame, anyone? If a man does go through with it, it definitely isn’t a flippant decision that he chooses out of boredom.
I did further sleuthing and discussed the procedure with many men who have had vasectomies; each one of them assured me that it was not an irrational thought-process. They assured me that their intention was never to reverse the surgery in the future. Therefore, they understood its severity and the assumption that reversing it would not be considered (unless an extenuating circumstance arose, whatever that means). Of course, every relationship is different, so changing Mr. Vasectomy’s mind wouldn’t be impossible, especially if he’s the right guy, but might require serious persuading!
Through it all, there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Although a reversal is not 100% guaranteed, there are men who have gotten this procedure reversed. Which, of course, is good news! However, even if the reversal works, there could be some risks. There is a chance that he might not be fertile, a high chance that his sperm count will be lower, or a higher rate of birth defects if you do have a child together: all of these risks increase depending on how many years ago he had a vasectomy. Plus, it can cost around $10,000 to get a vasectomy reversed, ouch! This ladies is when you need to ask yourself, “Will love be enough?”
If giving birth to your own child is on the top of your list of life-goals, then be clear about your wishes before you get emotionally involved with a man who has gotten a vasectomy. Remember, even if he does change his mind and decides to get a reversal, there are risks and it’s not 100% guaranteed that the surgery will be successful.
Also, remember that just because a man has gotten a vasectomy, it doesn’t mean that he can’t transfer an STD! A vasectomy does not make him Superman. Too many men who have conveniently gotten a vasectomy, don’t believe in condoms! Unless you are in a monogamous, committed relationship and you have both been tested for all STDs…it’s not worth the risk. Don’t be foolish…ALWAYS make sure he wears a condom.
Ladies, it is extremely important to protect yourself, both emotionally and physically when you begin dating a man who has had a vasectomy. First—emotionally—by coming to terms with your expectations (and NOT lowering them). Second—physically—by taking the precautions to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Most importantly, if you know in your heart that you want to have kids, how will you react when he says he has no interested in reversing his vasectomy? Do you really want to exert a significant amount of effort pleading him to reverse the decision he made years ago? At the end of the day, you want a life partner who has the same outlook as you do about creating a family together—attempting to convince him is worthless if he stands firm in his beliefs. If he isn’t willing to change his mind, take that as your cue to clip him out of your life.