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#1
Old 08-19-2011, 02:27 PM
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A question about the vasectomy consultation process

So, a friend of mine (it's actually me, but don't tell anybody!) is planning on having a vasectomy soon. I've got a pre-procedure consultation scheduled for the middle of next month.

I seem to recall hearing that women -- and in particular, young women -- who want to take permanent measures to end any chance of pregnancy are put through the third degree before being allowed to proceed, including questioning whether the woman's spouse or partner (if one exists) approves of the procedure. I don't know personally if is true, but if it is, this strikes me as an incredible invasion of someone's privacy. But I digress.

I'm curious about whether men who undergo these procedures are asked the same kind of questions. I mean, I'm a 36 year-old who has never had nor wanted children, nor do I resemble Taye Diggs, so I don't expect any doctors to throw themselves before me insisting that I must impregnate some folks before my sperm is tragically lost to the world. But, generally, do men (in the United States, at least) have to go through some sort of screening process in order to have a vasectomy? Would (and could) a doctor refuse to perform the procedure if the doctor thought the patient had not thought through the process, or hadn't consulted with his partner?
#2
Old 08-19-2011, 02:32 PM
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Had mine done back in 2000. My wife was not in attendance with me at the consultation.

Doctor asked me, "Have you had all the kids you want?"

I replied, "Yup."

He asked, "How many do you have?"

I answered, "Zero."

He had no problem with that.

He did discuss the possibility of a reversal, but also was clear that it is is fairly more complicated and is not a guarantee.

Frankly, I thought the operation was not that big of a deal. Any time I hear of men who make their wives get their tubes tied, I think to myself, "You wuss..."
#3
Old 08-19-2011, 02:35 PM
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Based on when I got mine 17 years ago: Idaho, the state will pay for your vasectomy regardless of your income. This is based on the proposition that your vasectomy is cheaper than paying medicaid and welfare for the kids you father but are unable or unwilling to pay for yourself. Yes, if your spouse is not in agreement, they (the doctors) will NOT do it. Yes, they ask and in Idaho you have to go through the exact same counselling session three times before the surgery.
At the time I got mine, I was told by the doctor that most doctors would not do it if you were under the age of 21, or did not have kids yet
ETA tasty agreement with Earwax, your a wuss and a cad to make your wife have major invasive surgery so you don't have to have a minor outpatient procedure, plus you miss out on all the groovy drugs

Last edited by guestchaz; 08-19-2011 at 02:37 PM.
#4
Old 08-19-2011, 02:37 PM
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My ex-husband had the operation done when he was 28 years old and I don't remember the doctor giving him a hard time about it. We did have children already though, so I don't know if that made a difference. I was with him at the appointment and the doctor did not ask my opinion. But I guess since I was there, he probably figured that I approved.

I was 26 at the time, and had asked my doctor if she would "fix" me after my son was born. She suggested that my ex have the procedure done instead, saying it would be easier for him. And besides, I was a little young (according to her).
#5
Old 08-19-2011, 02:46 PM
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When I had mine done, the doctor asked SWMBO to come in for the consultation. He wanted to be sure we were both on board with the procedure. I said basically, we've got her two from a previous marriage, I'm 45 and too old to be a daddy from scratch. She said, yeah what he said.

Doc said good enough. Let's snip.
#6
Old 08-19-2011, 02:53 PM
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it might depend on where and when. an individual urologist might require an outside psychological evaluation. a vasectomy clinic would have staff and process to do that.

written consent from spouse seems usual for voluntary sterilizations.
#7
Old 08-19-2011, 02:53 PM
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This is 20 years ago, so take that into consideration, but the doctor did ask me if my husband's vasectomy was okay with me. As I recall, they asked if I wanted any more children, or if that would change if anything happened to the ones we had. And I'm pretty sure I had to sign a consent form. They might also have asked him if he would think differently if he married someone else in the future. It was pretty thorough.
#8
Old 08-19-2011, 02:59 PM
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I got mine in 2004, and the pre-vasectomy consultation was quick & painless. I asked the doctor for a vasectomy. He said, "Really?" I said, "Yes." He then questioned aloud whether my HMO would pay for elective surgery on someone with no kids. I asked him what my HMO (his employer) would rather pay for: a vasectomy, or pregnancy, childbirth, and 18 years of childcare. He signed the authorization on the spot.
#9
Old 08-19-2011, 03:07 PM
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The urologist who did my vasectomy sent a packet with several forms. My wife had to sign a statement saying that she agreed with me about having the vasectomy, we had to answer several demographic questions (age, how many children, etc.), and we had to write an essay explaining why we wanted the procedure. My wife also had to go with me and tell the doctor in person that she agreed. Only then did he agree to go ahead with it.

This may all seem burdensome, but I didn't mind. If I had minded I could have found another doctor. He explained that some men do later regret doing it and he tries to weed them out since the chances of a reversal working are slim. I think what convinced him that we were sincere was that our essay essentially said "We don't want any more children. We're not even sure that we want the ones we have."

Last edited by Gus Gusterson; 08-19-2011 at 03:07 PM.
#10
Old 08-19-2011, 03:22 PM
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I've been meaning to look into this (things oddly keep coming up whenever I get free time). The euphemism I use is "seeing the guy about the thing." As in "yeah, we just had another kid - I really have to see the guy about the thing."

If, when I do see the guy about the thing, said guy asks me any pressing questions about whether I've fully considered the ramifications, I shall interrupt him, and tell him I have four kids. I anticipate an "okkkaaay, so how quickly do you wanna get clipped?"
#11
Old 08-19-2011, 03:39 PM
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Hmm. Well I'm not married at the moment. While my fiancee has absolutely no objection to me going through the procedure (in fact, she's very much in favor of it), I find it annoying that she might be dragged into needed to consent to it.

Based on what people here are saying, the fact that I haven't already had children might cause a urologist to press the issue more.
#12
Old 08-19-2011, 05:22 PM
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I had a vasectomy earlier this year. I was engaged at the time of the consulation, but my fiancée didn't come to the consultation visit with me. The doctor asked me how many kids I had. When I told him none, he stressed that vasectomy was considered permanent. He wanted to be sure that I understood what I was doing, but he did not attempt to dissuade me.
#13
Old 08-19-2011, 06:11 PM
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Wow. Dude.

A vasectomy is like a face tattoo times a thousand. You may want to sit and have a good think about this.

My wife and I didn't really want to have kids all the way up until the day we did. Do you have any reason to believe your fiancee is pysically incapable of having kids?

I don't know, man. Maybe give the marriage a year or so and re-visit the topic.
#14
Old 08-19-2011, 06:37 PM
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If a doc does give you any grief about it, you could offer to bank some sperm for the just in case scenario. That would make more sense than counting on a reversal.

I don't think that most docs woudl freak out over someone your age asking for a vasectomy though. I think the only reason that some of them do make people jump through a lot of hoops is the fear that some idiot will try to sue over a regretted vasectomy because telling them, "Seriously, this is permanent, you idiot" just once is not enough for some people to really get it.
#15
Old 08-19-2011, 06:44 PM
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My husband made an appointment, got snipped. No forms for me to sign, no one asked my opinion (which was "I'm sick of being on the goddamn pill! You said you'd get snipped after she was born and she's now walking!!! Take care of it or you aren't going to get laid!" )

I have a number of single male friends who have been snipped. There seems to be (generally) fewer hoops for men to go through than for women.
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#16
Old 08-19-2011, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
I have a number of single male friends who have been snipped. There seems to be (generally) fewer hoops for men to go through than for women.
The procedure is a lot less invasive, and risks fewer complications.
#17
Old 08-19-2011, 07:07 PM
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I honestly do not recall if the doctor asked my Wife anything. I am pretty sure the interview covered that we had two children and I am really sure we didn't want another. I'm also sure I signed a few things and had some pamphlets to bring home.

This was about sixteen years ago.
#18
Old 08-19-2011, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rand Rover View Post
Wow. Dude.

A vasectomy is like a face tattoo times a thousand. You may want to sit and have a good think about this.

My wife and I didn't really want to have kids all the way up until the day we did. Do you have any reason to believe your fiancee is pysically incapable of having kids?

I don't know, man. Maybe give the marriage a year or so and re-visit the topic.
This is going to the second marriage for both of us. My fiancee was previously married for 12 years (and she is older than I am), and I was married for 10. Both of us, throughout our adults lives, have been turned off by the idea of having children. It is definitely not for lack of thinking about it. I understand the permanency of the idea (and, to follow your analogy, I have a tattoo -- although not on my face). I believe it's the right decision for me.
#19
Old 08-19-2011, 08:04 PM
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OK. Your mention of a fiancee is what made me think that some thinking may be in order, but I see what the score is.
#20
Old 08-19-2011, 10:20 PM
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I had a vasectomy about 10 years ago when I was in my mid 30's.
I told the doctor that I have known all my life that I never want to have kids.
He just said something like "no problem, you are old enough to know what you want".

Having a vasectomy was fast and easy. One of the best decisions that I have ever made.
A little swelling and pain the next day, but otherwise no effects on my sex life other than not having to worry about pregnancy.
#21
Old 08-20-2011, 08:22 PM
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A male relative of mine tried to get a vasectomy when he was single and in his mid-20s. No one would do it - all the doctors he consulted told him to wait until after he got married to make the decision.
#22
Old 08-21-2011, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
The procedure is a lot less invasive, and risks fewer complications.
Yes, but that isn't it. Women get told that their doctors WON'T sterilize them because "they might change their minds." This isn't about avoiding risks - or women wouldn't get their tube tied at all. This is about doctors saying "we don't believe you really have thought through not having children."
#23
Old 08-21-2011, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Alas!_Earwax! View Post
Had mine done back in 2000. My wife was not in attendance with me at the consultation.

Doctor asked me, "Have you had all the kids you want?"

I replied, "Yup."

He asked, "How many do you have?"

I answered, "Zero."

He had no problem with that.

He did discuss the possibility of a reversal, but also was clear that it is is fairly more complicated and is not a guarantee.

Frankly, I thought the operation was not that big of a deal. Any time I hear of men who make their wives get their tubes tied, I think to myself, "You wuss..."
This was basically my experience. We already had two kids. My wife was in attendance during the consultation but the doc didn't ask her any questionS IIRC. When I made the appt for the consultation they sent me a couple of brochures on the procedure to read. During the consult the doc asked a couple of questions along the lines of "did you read the literature and are you sure this is what you want?" After I affirmed yes he gave me a bunch of release forms to sign and scheduled the procedure. No biggie.
#24
Old 08-21-2011, 05:19 PM
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How can I put this?

It is much more usual for a woman to be pressured into a permanent method of contraception by her partner than for a man to be pressured into a vasectomy by his partner.

By the time the guy is there asking to get snipped, you're already pretty sure he wants it.

Here, one doesn't need the consent of the partner, but it is considered advisable to at least speak to them and check that they are aware of the situation. YMMV.

No-one wants to be the doc who referred a guy for a vasectomy, who then sees his wife in tears because she can't get pregnant and who can't tell her why because of patient confidentiality.

Expect leaflets, dire warnings about both permanence and failure rates, and the rare complications like chronic testicular pain.

If you want it, you'll jump through the hoops, if you don't- you'll be glad the hoops were there to put you off.
#25
Old 08-21-2011, 05:43 PM
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I had mine 8.5 years ago. My wife was pregnant with our third at the time.

My wife and I met with the urologist who asked us about how many kids we have, how long we'd been together and a few others I can't remember.

I don't know if he would have done it without her consent. I didn't really need to test that aspect out so I just had my wife come along for the consultation.
#26
Old 08-22-2011, 09:50 AM
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My doctor didn't ask anything, though the forms I filled out did indicate I was in my 40s with 3 kids already. He did inform me that reversals are expensive and chancy at best. He didn't talk to my wife either, but that may be because they know each other & she referred me to him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
Yes, but that isn't it. Women get told that their doctors WON'T sterilize them because "they might change their minds." This isn't about avoiding risks - or women wouldn't get their tube tied at all. This is about doctors saying "we don't believe you really have thought through not having children."
To be fair and spread the blame a bit more, the doctor is also saying "I don't care to be sued by you 10 years from now even though I have multiple signed & notarized releases indicating you were aware this procedure was permanent, and have a sympathetic but foolish jury destroy my livelihood."
#27
Old 08-22-2011, 10:09 AM
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I went last year. No forms for the wife and she wasn't present for anything but the procedure itself to drive me home.

I was asked about kids (I have two though) and I'm married & pushing 40 so I may have gotten a different level of questioning than a single guy in his 20's. He did make the point of saying there's no guarantees on reversing it and it's not as easy as it might sound.
#28
Old 08-22-2011, 10:59 AM
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Since the OP is 39 and presumably his finance is in the same age range, and they have both been previously married and neither has wanted kids until now I'd expect less pushback from a doctor than if they were, say, 22. By 40 you usually know yourself well enough to make such a permanent decision.

It's going to vary somewhat from doctor to doctor, but I'd be surprised if the OP can't get this done with minimal hoops to jump through.

I recall a married couple who were in their mid-40's and the man went in for a vasectomy. When the doctor asked if he was sure he and the wife didn't want kids the guy said "20+ years of birth control, and the two times it didn't work she scheduled the abortion the day after the pee test was positive - no, we don't want kids". Doc said fine, sign these forms, and did the deed.

And then his scrotum got infected and his wife dragged him back to the doc to fix that, but it cleared up quickly and no harm done. Just, ya know, if you do have unsual pain, swelling, and redness afterwards it is a good idea to have things looked at, m'kay?
#29
Old 08-22-2011, 11:12 AM
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My ex got his done at 26. Single, no children. He got grief from the doctor at first, but he also has a brain disorder that he doesn't want to pass on to any possible offspring, so in the end he got what he wanted.
#30
Old 08-22-2011, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Since the OP is 39 and presumably his finance is in the same age range, and they have both been previously married and neither has wanted kids until now I'd expect less pushback from a doctor than if they were, say, 22.
I realize that if you could see me, you'd realize I feel much older than I am, but let's not rush things! I'm still 36.
#31
Old 08-22-2011, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
This is going to the second marriage for both of us. My fiancee was previously married for 12 years (and she is older than I am), and I was married for 10. Both of us, throughout our adults lives, have been turned off by the idea of having children. It is definitely not for lack of thinking about it. I understand the permanency of the idea (and, to follow your analogy, I have a tattoo -- although not on my face). I believe it's the right decision for me.
Many people have felt this way about this and other issues and later changed their minds.

And in particular, many people in or beginning new relationships are overly confident that the relationships will last and that their current partner is the Right One and their True Soulmate. But these things can change, and who is to say that a guy currently in a relationship with someone who doesn't want children will later find himself yet again searching for his True Soulmate, but this time shut off from that segment of the population that does want children.

Note: this is not a comment about your situation specifically. It is intended as a general comment about the attitude.
#32
Old 08-22-2011, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
And in particular, many people in or beginning new relationships are overly confident that the relationships will last and that their current partner is the Right One and their True Soulmate. But these things can change, and who is to say that a guy currently in a relationship with someone who doesn't want children will later find himself yet again searching for his True Soulmate, but this time shut off from that segment of the population that does want children.
I haven't gone through this before, obviously, but I'd think that anyone -- male or female -- who is making the decision to end his or her ability to reproduce should first decide whether that decision is right for them as an individual before progressing to working out whether that decision is compatible with their current partner and relationship goals. I think that's the best way to avoid having the sort of potential regret you bring up. If the two desires (personal desire versus desire within the current relationship) don't mesh, then perhaps that's a reason not to seek a permanent solution, but the individual priority should be the leading one.

Of course, that may be a lot tougher for a person who has already had children and whose motivation for becoming sterile may be different from someone who has not children and has never wanted any. That's clearly a perspective I have no insight into.
#33
Old 08-22-2011, 01:19 PM
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Understood, but if it was as easy to isolate and prioritize individual priorities as you suggest, then your OP and many of the responses would be moot.

And your post that I quoted was also heavily based on your partner's perspective.
#34
Old 08-22-2011, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
Understood, but if it was as easy to isolate and prioritize individual priorities as you suggest, then your OP and many of the responses would be moot.

And your post that I quoted was also heavily based on your partner's perspective.
I don't mean to suggest at all that it's easy. I don't think there's anything remotely easy about it. I mean to suggest that the individual priority is most important, that's all.
#35
Old 08-22-2011, 02:28 PM
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I got mine 13 months ago and my wife had to sign a permission slip but I don't think it was absolutely necessary. She never went to see the doctor and they didn't do anything to verify that it was my wife who signed the form.
#36
Old 08-22-2011, 03:06 PM
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My consultation was fairly brief and they didn't ask for my woman to be present or even solicit her opinion directly (they asked me what she thought of it). Basically dude wanted to know if I had any kids, and I did; and he asked me if I wanted anymore, and I said something along the lines of "I've got two and another on the way. If something happens and I still only have two, I'm good with that." I think at that point the urologist was on board with sterilizing an asshole like me ASAP. Too bad he couldn't have gotten to my old man 40 years before.
#37
Old 08-22-2011, 03:26 PM
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I did have to get the form signed by my wife, but we already had two kids. YMMV.

I also had to sign a form that men with vasectomies have prostate cancer at somewhat higher rates than those that don't. I told the doctor that I suspected that might be due to men who get vasectomies, especially forty years ago, had more access to medical care and therefore more diagnoses.

FWIW. YMMV. It's nice not to worry about condoms and pills and whatnot.

Regards,
Shodan
#38
Old 08-22-2011, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I told the doctor that I suspected that might be due to men who get vasectomies, especially forty years ago, had more access to medical care and therefore more diagnoses.
C'mon, just take that last logical step and postulate the medical profession causes the condition. You never see the little pill they're ramming up your tuckus while they "check" your prostate.
#39
Old 08-22-2011, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by lavenderviolet View Post
If a doc does give you any grief about it, you could offer to bank some sperm for the just in case scenario. That would make more sense than counting on a reversal.
....
I once heard that if the patient says "I'll bank some", a lot of doctors will say "then you're not 100% sure you don't want kids, get outta here". No data on that, however.

I was not asked to sign anything when Typo Knig got "the operation". Then again, we were in our early 40s, had 2 kids, definitely did not want more for a number of reasons, and he needed other surgery "down there" for a condition that had been diagnosed pre-kids. The doctor (same doctor) he consulted back then said "wait until you're done having kids and are willing to get a vasectomy, because fixing this will risk your fertility".

So, he had the longish history with the doctor, so this was not a case of someone coming in from the blue and saying "got a weed wacker, doc?".
#40
Old 08-22-2011, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
So, he had the longish history with the doctor, so this was not a case of someone coming in from the blue and saying "got a weed wacker, doc?".
If there is a weed wacker involved, I may have to reconsider this procedure!

In all seriousness, though, I always think of the term "snip" when it comes to a vasectomy, but I don't know what the actual process is. (I assume I'll be told all of that during my consultation, but if someone feels like explaining, feel free to do so.)
#41
Old 08-22-2011, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
If there is a weed wacker involved, I may have to reconsider this procedure!...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Night Court
(some character): Harry, you really have to quit getting involved in everyone's personal business!
(Bull, walking up to Harry): You're right, Your Honor, If I do get a vasectomy, I'll have a doctor do it! (walks off)
(Harry, defensively): He wanted to borrow my Weed Wacker!!!
Um, that's one way to save money???
#42
Old 08-23-2011, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
If there is a weed wacker involved, I may have to reconsider this procedure!

In all seriousness, though, I always think of the term "snip" when it comes to a vasectomy, but I don't know what the actual process is. (I assume I'll be told all of that during my consultation, but if someone feels like explaining, feel free to do so.)
The Procedure changes a little with time. Use to be they just basically snipped the ends, stuffed everything back in the bag and sent you on your way. At the time I got mine done, they removed a section completely, then cauterized the ends of the tubing back a little with a laser because the old way often allowed the tubes to grow back together. What they do now, your doc will, or should tell you.
If you do this, the doc will or should warn you of this, the first set of blanks you shoot off afterwards could be bloody. I knew and it still freaked me right the fuck out.
#43
Old 09-20-2011, 04:55 PM
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Meant to come back to say I had my consultation last week. The doctor briefly asked my fiancee whether she had any interest in children and such, but that was the extent of it.

After I'd signed the paperwork scheduling the procedure, we talked to him about what other people had said about needing wives or girlfriends to be on board with the procedure. He seemed to think that was really unusual and kind of odd. He said that if a husband comes in alone, he is going to assume he and his spouse have already had a discussion about it, but that his decision to proceed doesn't hinge on that. I don't know if he said directly whether he would still do the procedure even if the spouses weren't in agreement about it.

Anyway, I'm all set to get snipped. And I have to remember to buy frozen peas and jock support and to figure out a way to keep the cat from jumping onto my crotch when I'm sprawled out on the couch. Good times ahead!
#44
Old 09-21-2011, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cmosdes View Post
I had mine 8.5 years ago. My wife was pregnant with our third at the time.

My wife and I met with the urologist who asked us about how many kids we have, how long we'd been together and a few others I can't remember.

I don't know if he would have done it without her consent. I didn't really need to test that aspect out so I just had my wife come along for the consultation.
I had mine 13 years ago when my wife was pregnant with our 4th boy. The doc asked my wife if she was ok with it..I think its more of a cover-your-ace kind of thing.

My wife was more concerned ...asking the "what if something happens to me or the boys?". My response to her was: Well, if you die tragically, I'll have 4 boys and wouldn't want to add to that list, even with another woman. If you and the boys were to meet a fatefull end, I would be a basket case anyway...and if I did have more children I would forever be comparing them to my dearly departed brood. Not a good situation for anyone. So...snip.
#45
Old 01-20-2013, 03:02 PM
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For one, you avoid zombie children.
#46
Old 01-20-2013, 04:13 PM
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Posts: 36,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by jesuschars87 View Post
I have a question about vasectomy.

What Are the Benefits of Vasectomy?
You can have sex without worrying about pregnancy. And you don't have to wear a condom, have your wife take pills, or check the calendar.

And that jelly stuff that goes with the diaphragm tastes terrible.

Regards,
Shodan
#47
Old 01-20-2013, 06:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 639
I had one last Wednesday. I'm 30, single, and childfree. At the consultation, I explained that I did not want children, and the doctor was satisfied with that. I added, perhaps unnecessarily, that if my mind should somehow change, I do not have the hangups about adoption (racial and age concerns are illogical to me) that some people seem to have. There was nothing said about a partner.

Why has adoption not appeared in this discussion?
#48
Old 01-20-2013, 06:47 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 7,653
Quote:
Originally Posted by OurLordPeace View Post
I had one last Wednesday. I'm 30, single, and childfree. At the consultation, I explained that I did not want children, and the doctor was satisfied with that. I added, perhaps unnecessarily, that if my mind should somehow change, I do not have the hangups about adoption (racial and age concerns are illogical to me) that some people seem to have. There was nothing said about a partner.

Why has adoption not appeared in this discussion?
1. Most people who don't want any children the "normal" way aren't interested in adoption either.

2. Adoption is not so easy a process as you seem to think. It's very expensive, very intrusive, and typically takes years for an adoption to be finalized. The decision to adopt cannot be entered into lightly.
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