Vasectomy is a readily performed procedure which accomplishes a permanent method of birth control for men. It typically takes about twenty to thirty minutes to accomplish and can be performed in an office setting under local anesthesia, or in a monitored setting with the patient under anesthesia.
Most commonly, vasectomy is an option used by men who have fathered a child or children and have made a decision that they want to take control of the size of their family, and therefore take more control of their life. Sometimes a history of complications during pregnancy for their wives or partners factor into the decision. Further still, some men opt for vasectomy if they know that pregnancy will put not only their partner but also a potential future child at risk.
But what about men who simply decide that they do not want to have a child at all? There are certainly men and women out there who have made a decision for themselves that they do not want to become parents. Should they be offered vasectomy without hesitation, should additional counseling be offered or should the option of vasectomy simply be discouraged?
In the medical community there is a variety of opinions about how such patients should be approached , often with patient age factoring into physician attitude. Certainly there is much less reluctance among most physicians when confronted with a forty one year old childless man requesting a vasectomy compared to a twenty one year old making the same request. However, some health care professionals point out that if at age twenty-one a male can choose to enlist in the military, consume alcohol, have plastic surgery and basically make any and all decisions for how they want to live their life, why should there be any hesitance at all at accommodating their request for vasectomy?
In my practice, any patient questions regarding options for changing one’s mind after vasectomy are answered. Information on sperm banking, vasectomy reversal and or surgical sperm retrieval are often discussed. In general, and at any age, patients should make decisions regarding any elective surgical procedure after considering risks, benefits and consequences of their decisions.