Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation

About two years ago my wife and I decided that we weren't going to have any more children.  At least not the biological way.  We still might adopt 1 or 2 kids.  Benefits: we'll know we we'll get a baby girl and Islena won't practically die during pregnancy due to dehydration/malnutrition from vomiting.  Anyway, we were looking at options to not have to deal with contraception for the next 20 years or whatever, and we wanted to compare vasectomies (where the guy is sterilized) and tubal ligations (where the girl is sterilized).  Here's what we found out:

Picture of vasectomy from http://urology.jhu.edu/male/Vasectomy.php 

                                                     Vasectomy                        Tubal Ligation
Length of procedure:                      30 minutes                        2 hours
Complexity of procedure:               Very simple                      Fairly complex
Recovery time:                               2-5 days                           3 weeks
Immediate complications:                Few/rare                           Some/uncommon
Short-term complications:               Few/rare                          Some/uncommon
Medium-term complications:           Few/rare                          Some/uncommon
Long-term complications:               Few/rare                           Some/uncommon
Cost:                                             $500.00                            $3,000.00
Chance of pregnancy after:             Very low                          Fairly low
Picture of Laser Vasectomy from http://jrgrink.dancersblogs.com/vascetomymoral/

What is a Vasectomy?  Two tiny holes are made in the scrotum, then a hook is put through.  The lines connecting the testicles to the prostate are fished out, cut, and tied or sealed shut.  This stops sperm from getting to the prostate.  Sperm is actually only a small percentage of the semen that comes out during sex.  No sperm, no babies.  THIS IN NO WAY STOPS STDs!!!  Men with vasectomies have a slightly higher rate of getting and giving STDs because there are idiots out there that decide they don't need a condom when sleeping with multiple partners or a partner that has multiple partners.  As you'll note in a previous post, this can cause CANCER!  So the Vas Deferens are cut and sealed and put back in.  The holes in the scrotum are so small a bandaid would be more than enough to soak up any bleeding.

Picture of DIY vasectomy from http://www.sydesjokes.com/page.php?v1=Diy%20Vasectomy%20Kit&v2=d/diy_vasectomy_kit.jpg&v3=t&v4=Medical

You can have sex again in about a week, and for the next couple of months, you'll send samples of semen to a lab every few weeks until they confirm a sample with no live sperm in it.  Then you know you will never have any more children.  Vasectomies are considered permanent, but there is a chance to reverse them if needed.  I got on the internet looking for stories about the effects of vasectomies, and found a couple of websites with some horror stories on them.  But really, the few guys that have complications will complain about it long and loud, and the many guys that are blaming their problems on a vasectomy even though they are unrelated will also post about it a lot.  The 99% that have no issues with their vasectomies have other things in life to think about, and you probably won't hear them commenting about it much. 

My experience was like almost everybody else.  It really wasn't a big deal.  My soreness was fading about two days afterwards.  We went to Wheeler Farm on a family trip that Saturday, and there was this pig with mega-huge testicles that didn't fit between it's legs and so they stuck out the back.  Kindred spirit I said, but really it wasn't bad. 

Picture of tubal ligation from http://health.stateuniversity.com/pages/1573/Tubal-Ligation.html

Tubal ligation is actually pretty similar as far as cutting and then sealing tubes.  It's just deep inside a woman's body.  There's a lot more room for error.  It's more expensive.  Complications are more common and more serious.  Etc.  Basically, GO FOR THE VASECTOMY!!!


keevinwho said...

The church handbook also discourages vasectomies.

Jeff said...

You are correct. The church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) strongly discourages vasectomies and tubal ligations, except in some circumstances. Here is the paragraph:

21.4.15 Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy)
The Church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. Surgical sterilization should be considered only if (1) medical conditions seriously jeopardize life or health or (2) birth defects or serious trauma have rendered a person mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions. Such conditions must be determined by competent medical judgment and in accordance with law. Even then, the persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their bishop and should receive divine confirmation of their decision through prayer.

It's great that all of this is now online for anyone to see. I think it takes away this air of secrecy around the church's practices and beliefs.

It's an interesting topic. Here's the church's view on birth control:

21.4.4 Birth Control
It is the privilege of married couples who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for the spirit children of God, whom they are then responsible to nurture and rear. The decision as to how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge one another in this matter.

Married couples should also understand that sexual relations within marriage are divinely approved not only for the purpose of procreation, but also as a way of expressing love and strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife.

Islena and I feel like our decision to have a vasectomy was a question of her health difficulties during pregnancy. But even if it wasn't, I find it difficult to differentiate how it's ok to permanently use birth control if you're done having kids, and just having a surgery. I guess it's a question of "you never really know," you know?

JC said...


I think I need to take you to task just a little on your comment for a couple of reasons. First, when you said "The church believes . . .", you seem to have inserted it -- at least as far as I can tell -- because you are implying that the church's beliefs are different than those of Jeff. Without getting into the debate of the beliefs of the church vs. the beliefs of God(s) vs. the beliefs of the church's members (assuming, of course, that God(s) exists), I don't think that any of us are qualified to interpret another person's relationship with his or her God(s). At least, I feel that I am not qualified to do so.

Second, I think that an appeal to authority is always a somewhat poor way to make a convincing argument, especially in cases like this one where (as Jeff demonstrated in his reply) a case could be made for or against sterilization, depending on circumstances. I have known Jeff to be an active Mormon for several years, and I doubt very much that he would make a serious life decision without studying out the consequences of that decision and it's implications on his religious world view very carefully. To point out the views of the Mormon church's Handbook of Instructions on this matter seems to me to imply that he is not aware of them already, a position I would not be presumptuous enough to take.

As a side note, considering the two points I have made above, I can think of no reason to make the statement that you made above other than to be somewhat, in however subtle of a way, demeaning to the religious views of Jeff and imposing of a certain level of arbitrary moral certitude on your comparative positions in favor of your position.

But, if I have misjudged your intentions, by all means reply and let me know that such is the case. Thank you.