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Should Men Get Vasectomies?

Does Your Husband "Owe" You a Vasectomy?

About a minute after the prenatal check-up where my doctor suggested I have a second C-section, I suggested she go ahead and tie my tubes while she was in there. It wasn't something I debated too much, maybe because my mom had a tubal ligation after she delivered her second child via C-section over 30 years before and still said it was no big deal, maybe because I wanted to control my reproductive life, and very possibly because my husband had made it very known that, considering I was already going through a surgery where sterilization could just be a fun add-on, a vasectomy was out of the question.

And so, after I delivered my son three years ago, my husband went with him to recovery while I stayed in the O.R. by myself (minus the team of two doctors and a handful of nurses) for about another 20 minutes, where they officially closed down my baby-making parts, then wheeled me in to see my newborn. That, ladies, is efficiency.

For me, it was very easy (I realize that's not always the case), didn't add any recovery time to my C-section, and has been complication-free ever since. Which is why I'm always surprised when my friends have C-sections knowing they are delivering their last baby and don't opt for a tubal ligation.

Initially, I figured each of these friends — and there have been at least five — weren't totally sure that they were done having kids. Sure, they were getting older and more tired and more realistic about the burdens another child would place on their families, but maybe, just maybe, they wanted one more and weren't admitting it to me, or maybe even to themselves. But after much questioning, to the point of being annoying about it, I figured out that another potential baby wasn't really the motivation at all. The real truth? They thought that their husbands owed them a vasectomy.

It might not be the most charitable thought, but it makes sense. After two, three, four pregnancies full of discomfort, raging hormones, and medical complications followed by the same number of major surgeries to deliver those babies, the challenges of recovery, losing the baby weight, and breastfeeding, these women were ready to hand over the reproductive responsibilities to their husbands. They were done being poked, prodded, and physically invaded. They had gestated and given birth to the babies; their husbands could be in charge of making sure that work was done.

They had gestated and given birth to the babies; their husbands could be in charge of making sure that work was done.

Some of their husbands were totally on board, making appointments before my friends even delivered their last children. But not surprisingly, some are still nagging their husbands to get it done years later. I'm pretty sure I would have been in the latter category, as I still have to remind my husband to take the trash out every week. If he conveniently blocks out that fairly innocuous task, can you imagine the mental block he'd put around any medical procedure involving his most favorite body part?! He'd probably try to get me pregnant again just to give me another shot at tubal ligation.

In my mind, the question of whether our husbands actually do "owe" us all a vasectomy is moot. Of course they do. Simply compare the amount of work they have to do in order to have a baby to ours. It's a laughable injustice. But, for me, it was one more example of so many things I've decided were easier to do myself rather than to nag my husband about. The trash he can handle. Leave the sterilization to me.

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