Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Would a vasectomy make a vas deferens to me?

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My children are charming bundles of joy (of course: they each have 23 of my chromosomes), but Mrs L and I have decided that two are enough. A vasectomy seemed the obvious course of action, so I went for an initial consultation with the surgeon. I went in all eager. I came out determined never ever to let that man’s scalpel near my orbs.

In order that he doesn’t sue me, let’s call him Doctor Hamish McNobchopper, as he was Scottish. And a specialist in chopping.

His consulting room was windowless, and lit with a harsh flourescent glare. It was all completely institutional and anonymous, with no decoration except a large poster of the male genitals, showing the interior plumbing in a manner that looked as if it were the partially-flayed penis of a giant, mounted on the wall as some kind of trophy.

Dr McNobchopper was a gaunt man in a dark grey suit. He was the dourest of all Scots, with pallid skin that suggested he never left this artificially-lit environment. After a few preliminary questions – age, marital status, number of offspring – he smiled a joyless thin-lipped smile and put me at my ease by asking, “Have you thought about how you’d feel if you had a vasectomy and then your children died?” (answer: I don’t know, but probably very unlikely to be in the mood to leap on my wife with the intention of inseminating her), before pointing out that “up to ten percent of men complain of debilitating testicular pain for up to five years after the operation”.

My confidence was failing fast and then came the moment I’d dreaded: examination time.

Now, lady readers might not know this, as they generally see their gentleman’s appendage in its ready-for-action state, but the penis is, under certain circumstances, retractable. Being medically examined is one of those circumstances. Certainly, mine seemed to be attempting to withdraw into my body and masquerade as a pink acorn as Dr Nobchopper glared at it with undisguised contempt.

“I can see from your wriggling we’ll have to put you out with a General”, he said, like a Caledonian Dr Mengele, because I flinched as he rolled each of my testicles between his thumb and forefinger. (Incidentally, the fact that the testes hang outside the body encased in paper-thin skin, rather than guarded by closely interlocking bones forming a special subcutaneous scrotal equivalent to a rib-cage, is, in my opinion, the knock-down argument against the theory of ‘Intelligent Design‘.)

As I got dressed and Dr McNobchopper scrubbed his hands with the diligence of a man repulsed by what he’s just had to do, I weakly sought reassurance that the injections of local anaesthetic merely go under the skin of the scrotum. “Sometimes the needle pierces the testicle”, replied the Doctor, “But it doesn’t much matter, as you’ve said you don’t want the sperm, anyway.”.

Reader, I legged it. And that’s why my nads continue resolutely pumping out producing millions of sperms even as I type this.

And God bless ’em, each and every one.

35 Responses to “ Would a vasectomy make a vas deferens to me? ”

Comment by Adam

Bruce, we dont have a hosepipe ban up here me old mucker 🙂 Only joking! We do! 😛

Your story does make me shudder though- I admire you for going to see the Doc. Comments from a doctor that give the impression of a slaughter house is a big warning – “put you out”? Wow; never to recover?!

Maybe you could have called the article

“Tube train delayed: vasectomy blamed”

I spent a while thinking that up whilst I cooked dinner. I had a boiled egg.

Comment by JackP

We’ve also got two kids. We’ve also debated the whole two-bricks-and-my-scrotum argument. Up until now, while I’d not been too keen on the idea, I’d seen it as a rational answer to the contraception thing, since we don’t really want any more.

However, I think this:
“up to ten percent of men complain of debilitating testicular pain for up to five years after the operation”
…has rather put me off.

I don’t particularly like the idea of debilitating testicular pain for the week or two that’s expected to follow the operation. But five years? I think I’ll just cut out sex altogether (of course, having two kids helps with this).

The worst story however is a chap I work with who had the snip and was in agony for 48 hours. He then felt a bit better so decided to cycle the eight miles into work. Apparently he had to be helped off his bicycle once he got there, was packed off home in a taxi and didn’t stand up again for a month. Testes like grapefruit, apparently.

Comment by William Lawrence

Yes. A vasectomy in you, Bruce Lawson, would make a difference. You’ve not even had it done and you’re already different than the millions of men before you who’ve gone on to find other doctors. Would it make you more at ease if you had a woman surgeon snip your threads?

These are the men who’ve sacrificed the conceptual stereotype of a what being a man is for a very miniscule fragment of their lives, just so, for the rest of their lives, they can continue loving their women the way they ought–no holds barred.

So I say to you, continue your life in fear, or overcome this barrier by severing your overpopulating abilities!

Good luck!

Comment by Jim

“And that’s why my nads continue resolutely pumping out millions of sperms even as I type this.”

You type one-handed?

Oh, and ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Comment by Sarah

Disclaimer: This is meant in jest. I am not a super evil, man hating person. Just having a laugh! Enjoy.

Bruce,

My husband sent me a link to your blog post, which I found amusing since we are having the same debate. We are about to have our second child in a few weeks and have been going around about it for quite some time. He is a squeamish kind of guy, one who generally can’t stomach the site of blood, let alone the thought of those little nut sacs under a knife. However, I being a proponent of the vasectomy would like you to take a look at childbirth and pregnancy from a female perspective. Not only do we also give our children 23 of our chromosomes we invest a lot of time (usually around 10 months), effort and energy (carrying an extra 25-40lbs is hard – to which my husband lovingly replies “I’ve gained 30lbs since we got married so what’s the big deal?” – that was 4 years ago…not within the last 10 months!) in ensuring that this little bundle of joy arrive safely outside of our bodies. That right there is the key concept…it has to arrive outside of our bodies. Let’s investigate that further.

Now before anyone gets too uptight…this is in jest to all men who are afraid of a simple outpatient procedure. I am not a crazy-think birth is the hardest work in the world-kind of person, so don’t assume I’m a man hater. Thanks!

Anyway, for our purposes, let’s look at my situation. Thus far, I have been pregnant 3 times (lost one at 11 weeks). I have spent a total of 84 weeks pregnant. My body has been hi-jacked and taken over by aliens for 84 weeks of my life (that’s roughly 16%). Now during this time, my teeny uterus has grown to the size of a basket ball, my internal organs have been smooshed into tiny places they didn’t even know they could fit. My lungs have been a diving board for my children’s feet and being an agile mom of a 2.5 year old has since become challenging (not a complaint – just a fact). I have 2x as much blood as I use to and I am 36lbs heavier than I actually like to be. (read = none of my stylish, sexy clothes fit anymore). My skin feels like it could rip in half at any moment (though I am fortunate enough to survive 3 pregnancies with 2 tiny stretch marks that will easily be covered with my belly ring when I get abs back). Those poor women who lose their entire belly to stretch marks have far more to say than I about the topic so I won’t deviate here.

Now for my favorite part…labor which is exactly what it’s called, work. Now the funny thing is that it’s not like the work my husband assures me he does everyday at his job (which consists of “research” on the internet and writing code…these DO NOT equal labor). Labor is the coolest, scariest, craziest thing in the world to me, but not every woman feels the same way as I do. Take my friend who just had a baby last week for example…she would have rather been thrown out into highway traffic than go through it. Ah, but I am deviating from my point. So where was I? Oh yes, soon I will have pushed (completely un-medicated!) 2 babies from my normally tiny and always FRAGILE private parts. When this happens, those little private parts are stretched, ripped, bruised and basically treated like a punching bag for hours relentlessly without any predictability as to time and complications that could arise. Contrast this to the relatively predictable time and complications that a vasectomy entails. It is for sure a much easier task than labor. Women have babies and men should have vasectomies!

For those few complaints about having the vasectomy done….here is my laundry list of why taking an oral contraceptive (OC) for the rest of the female reproductive life sucks too! (I am an educated person about to complete my doctorate in Pharmacy (yeah me!), so I do know a little about the subject.) 

1. Increased risk for some cancers
– cervical and liver cancers
– breast cancer
*owed to the fact that the body is exposed to WAY more estrogen than normal
– in the OC’s defense, there are non-estrogen containing pills
– BUT they are way more complicated than the standard variety

– I will give you that some types of cancer risk are reduced such as endometrial and ovarian cancer (but if I got these they could just take my uterus out…I kind of need my liver…especially if I need to metabolize those oral contraceptives).

2. Rare and dangerous complications can occur due to OC use
(rare like those complications that can arise from a vasectomy!)
– For example:
– Heart and blood vessel disorders (ie clots and high cholesterol)
– Increased blood pressure = Heart and blood vessel problems
– Increased blood sugar levels –> diabetes = lots of other complications
(ie I could become an amputee from diabetic foot ulcers)
– Liver and gallbladder complications
*no liver = DEAD
*no gallbladder = no big deal except surgery
– Cervical changes (increased risk for STD’s)
– Eye problems
* I won’t be able to read medication bottles = no job! Unless they make them in brail.

3. Mood changes can occur in certain women on OC’s
– Do you really want this to happen to your woman?
– It can be scary…they could turn into super…you fill in the rest and it isn’t FUN

4. Side effects, side effects, side effects….they are my life
– Acne (which if bad enough may be its own form of birth control!)
– Breakthrough bleeding or spotting
*as if the one week a month (if we are lucky) we bleed isn’t torture enough!
– Breast tenderness – they will never be an object of fun again
– Depression – this will be fun
– Headaches
– Nausea
– Weight gain – more cushion for the pushin?!

5. You’ll have to rely on your lady to remember to take them EVERY SINGLE DAY. Keep in mind you have children. Everyday is an unpredictable day of bliss. You just may end up with more kids than you ever wanted or pregnant at 65. Sounds like fun!

Reference:
Lawrence A. Oral contraceptives – birth control pills Web site. Available at: http://www.well-net.com/womenshealth/contraception/oralcontraceptiveinfo-1.html. Accessed August 24, 2006.

Comment by Bruce

Thanks for the comment, Sarah. However, I might be a weak-willed coward, but I’m not so evil that I’d expect my wife to stuff herself with hormones.

Comment by tim

Not THE Dr Hamish McNobchopper? BM,ChB,DPhysMed,FFFP.FRCS,M.Chir? The most highly qualified nobchopper in the land? He’d fallen on hard times I’d heard. He was trying to perform a circumcision when he missed and got the sac……..Better be careful.

Comment by JackP

In the light of other misunderstandings here, I should perhaps state that:-
a) I agree with Bruce agreeing with Sarah. By which I mean that I too share the same sentiment that Bruce does.
b) In my earlier comment (#2), when I said “Testes like grapefruit, apparently.”, this should NOT be taken as an independent sentence. I have no knowledge of the fruit or other dietary preferences of testes (insert your own “plums” joke here).

Comment by JackP

Oh, and in reference to Dr Hamish McNobChopper:
“Have you thought about how you’d feel if you had a vasectomy and then your children died?” – is this another common side effect of the op? ‘Cos frankly, that would put me off as well.

Comment by Dan

McNobChopper? Happy Meal toys have gone a bit sadistic since I had them!

( Thought I’ld chip in….:) )( Sorry that pun WASN’T intended )

I’m only 21 so the other side of kid producing is way down the line for me but my girlfriend’s father had it done a while back. I personally think it’s madness, if only for the fact that unless you were 100000% sure that a) you’re kids would never die young or b) kids are completely out of the question, then as reversable as it may be, knotting your nads together (ouch) should be left to the uncarefuls.

“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone….”

Comment by Anon

I had one in 1995 and it is a thoroughly marvellous method of contraception. Even the post snip testing was fun as one day my (now ex) wife had to drop the sample off at the lab – I’d always wanted to come in her handbag.

My work colleague Phil had a vasectomy, even after what I’m about to tell you , and I rang him up the next day to see how was to be told by his wife that he was out on his bike!

I’ don’t know how familiar you are with male reproductive anatomy. You keep “producing” even if what you are “pumping” is wiggler free. So where do they go? The stuff eventually gets re-absorbed but not before hanging around in the epidydimis, the oblong bit attached to the top of each testicle. It can cause what are referred to as “blow outs” where they rupture or bubble out leading to epidydimal cysts.

I got these regularly for the first few years after the op. The doctor usually diagnosed epidydimitis and prescribed antibiotics. I had a couple of scans and was told they were harmless. Until the day I was prostrate in agony and had to have ’em removed. But at least I got christmas off work. I was resigned to occasional bouts of crippling goolie pain and a lie down with a soothing whisky.

Then another really nasty episode- this time they thought that it might be a torsion. Feel free to look that one up yourself if you are not already familiar with the term.You may then need to look up gangrene and necrosis. The “opened ” me up and fortunately couldn’t find any cysts.

It wasn’t a torsion but to prevent me ever having a torsion they performed an orchidopexy. Sorry – more medical dictionary work. Or you could take my word for it that it means nailing the offending testicle into the wall of the scrotum so it never feels like spinning round again. This is what caused the nerve damage that has lead to me experiencing chronic incurable testicular pain.

I’ve been under a pain consultant for 3 years and I’ve tried various forms of anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, painkillers, hypnotherapy, acupuncture et bloody cetera. Sorry – I have good days and bad days.Just got to live with it really.
At least you were told that there was a possibility that there could be side effects.I wasn’t, although I did get the obligatory “what would happen if your wife and children were killed in a car crash? ” question. The answer I gave was that my standard of living would go up. That went down well.

Lowered libido is one as well. Did that one crop up? The bloke, sorry – doctor, that did Phil’s op said that it was a perfectly safe procedure, very few side effects until he said he had a mate at work who suffered quite a bit. This was when the doctor started to bombard him with really scary statistics and the impact of some of the very few side effects.

It is a very safe operation – even a student nurse could do it. Side effects are rare but can be troublesome. I’m just unlucky really. My dad said he wished he had had one at 16. Thanks dad. The female op is a lot simpler these days. Not trying to sway the argument at all.

Comment by Dave S.

My father was a surgeon. They care not for what they’re cutting, it’s just the fact that they are cutting that gives them joy. They love performing surgery. Or cutting of any sort, come to think of it; no-one apart from him was allowed to carve the Sunday roast. Carved perfectly it was, but I still wouldn’t let one near my nadgers.

Comment by Jim

sperm causes cancer – fact (ish…).

having said that there is NO WAY ON GOD’S FREAKING EARTH that I would let a doctor near my nads with a knife.

pain? I piss on pain.

fear of not being able to have more kids? Not heard of cloning?

…no

the problem is simple, knife+testes=fear.

thank-you for listning, this has been a public service anouncement.

Comment by Steve

Being young, I’m still hoping that by the time it comes to being married with two kids, I can take the male pill and not worry about it.

There’s always the third option, buy shares in durex.

Comment by Grant Broome

Make sure Dr. McNobChopper knows what he’s doing. A couple of months after the op I saw the guy who was in the recovery bed next to mine after my op. He announced that his wife was pregnant again. (And yes it was his).

Apparently it’s much better if the tube is folded back on itself and then tied rather than just chopped and tied. They gave me a local anaesthetic which allowed me to watch what they were doing. It was fascinating, but they just gave me a chop and tie.

I did suffer from some popped stitches though which resulted in a gaping wound which allowed me to inspect my boiled egg. The other sac got infected and while the stitches held tight, the combined affect was like cheesewire into an over-ripe tomato.

While I would go through it all again if I had to (and I haven’t had my results yet so who knows?), I don’t think I’ll be going back to the same place :S

Comment by RJ

For those who have wives especially those who had C.S. (Ceasarian) Fear not gents its your turn. Give your lady a rest will you? Just do it. Will be doing mine in 3 weeks. Life has always risks. Be a man and Stand up! Life’s too short.
RJ, BSN RN CCRN

Comment by PL

Hey Bruce… at this point in my post vasectomy trials… I would say don’t do it. I had a vasectomy 7 months ago, I had pretty severe pain for 2 weeks post op and everytime my wife and I have sex my scrotum aches for 48 hours. Ibuprofen takes away most of the pain but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I researched vasectomies prior to my procedure and asked my urologist about the possible side effects which of course he blew off. I’m a doctor myself and the urologist that did my procedure is a friend but he doesn’t have an answer for my problem now. My only hope at this point is time but unfortunately when a man is dealing with pain down there… the months are long indeed. Sarah made many good points… the exact points for my wife and I deciding the vasectomy was the best course. My wife herself doesn’t feel 100% following her c-section two years ago. Life can be cruel to people who sometimes try to do the right thing. I ultimately feel somewhat duped by the medical community. HOWEVER, if a couple are planning permanent sterilization… it still seems to be the best technique for ease and safety and most have few problems. A tubal ligation is a much more dangerous surgery with greater risks for the woman than a vasectomy is for a man! Condoms are a pain but if used properly.. are very effective. I would stay with condoms if I were you!

Comment by Mike Bird

In 2002 I had a vasectomy, absolutely no problems at all from when I walked out of the docs surgery, but as time went by my testes got more and more painful. After a year I was putting on weight and growing man-boobs. After another year I was suffering depression and two years later was going insane and in the care of the government mental health service. All through this I was seeing many doctors and eventually found one who knows what was really wrong with me. I have developed an auto-immune response to my sperm which has resulted in my body destroying most of its endocrine system. I now have testosterone replacement injections plus tamoxifen to counteract the effects of unwanted estrogen, cortisone, thyroid, insulin and growth hormones. I am off all the psych drugs and back at work after two years off. I am slowly losing weight (20kg down and 30kg to go) and my testes still ache a lot – as they do nothing else for me I am contemplating becoming a eunuch

Comment by Jenny

Oh my gosh, all these scary stories, you poor guys!
Well my husband had the snip 6 days ago and he said he had the most excrutiating pain he had ever felt once he got back home. I have been waiting on him hand and foot ever since. He can walk about now but says the pain i ssudden and sharp, almost like toothache and then subsides but now I think he is more afraid of feeling pain than actually experiencing it. At least one good thing came out his op’ up to now. He said that he now has an idea why women get put of sex after childbirth and apologised for all the nagging(there is a god!
We are happy with our family (one kid) but my constant fear (no sex for the past 4 years) eventually got to him I think. He finally realised there was no way I would let him near me as I have a phobia of getting pregnant to such an extent we ended up sleeping in separate beds.
Anyway now I am hoping he won’t have any lasting side effects like some of you are experiencing. He is still using icepacks and pain killers and has said the pain is getting better, here’s hoping it disappears altogether because I am really looikng forward to my new sterile sex life! 🙂

Comment by darren

omg i was thinking of getting a vasectomy done as my wife is having a rough time with the merina coil but i am seriously put off now. i love my wife but if it went wrong i feel i couldnt be the man she fell in love with.

Comment by Mark

Well – I had my vasectomy in April this year – at approx 4pm on a Tuesday (funny how you tend to remember these details…) On the Thursday of that week I took the wife and kids camping for 3 nights approx 100 miles away. On the whole – a bit tender but no big deal. I only took ibuprofen for 2 days overall. To be honest – the worst bit was that the stitches kept on catching in my pants… Even now the thought makes me shudder! I ended up taking the stitches out myself after a week as they hadn’t dissolved by themselves.

I did it for the same reason as others – I didn’t like the idea of my wife pumping herself full of hormones just so we could have a good shag.

One tip I got from a friend which I would heartily endorse – ALWAYS go somewhere that they do these procedures A LOT! The last thing you want is for some inexperienced medic to get involved in a major expedition to the interior of your scrotum, just because he/she doesn’t know what the vas deferens looks like in the flesh.

I went to the main family planning centre in the area – had a 10 minute initial consultation (where they asked the dead kid question amongst others) and then got the dreaded appointment for 6 weeks later. Turned up on the day, was in and out in 15 minutes flat – the Mrs was dissapointed that she didn’t get to finish her newspaper – but she did have a good time watching all these slightly pale sweaty men in the waiting room!!! I also got to spend my op chatting to the most stunning nurse I’d ever seen… who I think was there to divert me from the unmentionables going on below. I’m sure (given as above the retractable nature of the male penis when threatened by a man with a scalpel) that she must be convinced that all the men in the area have a 1″ knob!

Anyway – if you want my advice – do it. You won’t regret it later and I (and nobody I know) have ever had any trouble since.

Best of luck!

Comment by Greg

Boy sure sounds like fun, I thought I was convinced, but now I have serious doubts. Do people only post bad results or are that all there is?

Comment by Darren

theres good and bad but the thing is you never hear the good as no one complains about good things so although it may seem all bad it cant be really

Comment by val

Vasectomy is for a man that is sure he do not want (need) children anymore. Of course, reversal can give a second thought. The main benefit is you can enjoy sex without condom, of course when you know the partner.

Comment by Ian

Just had it done yesterday (27th Dec 07)….
Notwithstanding ethics etc, here are some comments regarding procedure…

Absolute doddle…no scalpel technique so the most unsettling aspect was the high-pitched beep made by the thermal knife thingy. Dr fiddles to find Vas Def under skin (odd but no pain or discomfort, local into the Vas Def (NOT the testicle) which was no more painful than a jab in the arm and LESS painful than a jab in the gums by a dentist. 2 minutes later, tiny (less than 5 mm long)cut in underside of scrotum, no pain, just irritating beep from machine. Slight odd sensation in tummy as Dr eased out the Vas Def and then cut and cauterised. Must emphasise NO pain at all other than the local injection (for only a second or two. There are no stiches as the cut in the ball sack is so small, simply held together by Steristrips.
Afterwards – no pain at all, simply a weird tingling/scratchy sensation as the local wore off. Obviously I’m not going to risk any running or mud-wrestling for a week or two – but I can not recommend this procedure enough.

Comment by Brad the Angry Eunuch

Bruce,

Man did you do the right thing!! Wish I’d legged it. Now well over a week and I am still off work with a badly swollen scrotum. Erections are excruciating and I am trying to find a source for saltpetre or organic bromides.

I can’t ever imagine wanting sex again, and like you, MikeB am comtemplating going the whole hog and getting castrated. I have negotiated a platonic friendship with my g/f but am under no illusion that I haven’t wrecked the relationship. She doesn’t really want a eunuch as a partner.

I am ABSOLUTELY LIVID with the medical liars who made this sound oh so very easy.

Val, I can tell you. Yes there’s no condom BUT THERE IS NO ENJOYMENT.

Guys. If your wife or girlfriend mentions vasectomy – run!! Run for the hills. fLEE FOR YOUR LIFE (AND GOOLIES!) The fact that this atrocity of a procedure is still being done only testifies to the lack of value or society places on males.

Brad the Angry Eunuch

Comment by laurel bush

Ten years ago I met a man who’d had the snip, several years previously, with no physical complications.

I’d been on the Pill for several years and thought it was great, being able to ditch these hormones with all their side effects and stuff.

But …he just had very little libido (and I don’t think it had anything to do with me, honest!)and I’d have hardly needed the Pill anyway; he also said that he hadn’t always been like that …

Comment by liz

Dear Bruce. I say you done right to hold on to your parts. In this so-called civilised world we surely don’t need to be chopping ourselves about like the ancient Egyptians just to maintain one part of good family life. A man need not have major surgery just to avoid the possiblity of children; unless he is determined to have sex every day of every month of his life, (in which case it may not be a vasectomy that he needs but rather a restraining order). Most people abstain from sex during a gals period, and we seem to cope with that ok. There is approximately 2 weeks in every womans life where she can’t get pregnant at all! It goes like this,
1. Period; lasts 4-6 days.
2. Ovulate; between 7-12 days after period ends, and 14 days before next period starts.
3. between ovulation and next period = no possiblity of pregnancy.
That adds up to 28 or 30 days in total(depending) during which there should be about 10 days in every month to love it up freely without pills or plastic or any fear of pregnancy. I kind-of like it. Ok so you might be saying, ‘not now love, how about next week’, but I would have thought that’s better than ‘not now love, how about 2-5 years time?’ or ‘not now love, I’m swelled up like a melon’.

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