Aside from the complications of surgery/anesthesia, do you think there are any negative health consequences from a vasectomy? E.g., some effect on hormones? Certainly not a very "paleo" thing to do at any rate.
Jamie has a post about vasectomy that is worth reading for anyone considering it and worried about (non-obvious) consequences:
I am not a doctor or a researcher, and can't tell you whether a vasectomy will cause issues for you. But I wanted to answer in a philosophical way...
We live in a world where our minds and culture have evolved faster than our bodies. We choose career and family, or career over family, and those decisions are considered the norm in our society. Those who choose to stay home and raise large families are becoming the exception, even though this choice holds the body's secret desire.
We've developed artificial means of birth control as a way to allow us to have a fun and spontaneous sex life without worry of pregnancy, but these means all come at a cost. It seems to be that hormonal birth control such as the pill or the various shots that women endure have bigger, more negative effects than a vasectomy has on a man.
(I should mention that there is a segment of the Paleo population that uses some version of natural family planning, and believes that it is as effective as any other method of birth control barring sterility.)
On the scale of Terrible Things, a vasectomy seems, to me, to be pretty close to an almost-insignificant number. Yes, it must mess with a man's system. But perhaps that cost is worth having a worry-about-pregnancy-free sex life. You still have to consider the whole issue of STD's if you are a single guy who doesn't want children.
Every choice we make in life has consequences. Sometimes they are better than others, and sometimes they are worth the cost. You don't get a free ride on this planet, even if you guzzle coconut oil and dip yourself in an arctic lake after each meal.
Make the best decision for your own life, and honor it. If you don't ever want to father children, a vasectomy is a valid and good choice.
I'm female, but I'd like to chime in. My husband had a vasectomy about a year ago. We have two kids, both of which I had via emergency c-section (tried for a VBAC with the second). We had both decided already that we would be done with two kids, so there were a couple of options:
1) tubal ligation -- I've heard SO many horror stories from women who've ended up with horrible hormonal changes from TL and/or ectopic pregnancies that the option was immediately out.
2) hormonal birth control -- Over 50% of the women on my mother's side of the family have had female-specific cancers, all estrogen-sensitive. That option was out.
3) NFP (natural family planning) -- Okay, so that made the short list. On the table, sure.
4) vasectomy -- not invasive (my hubby would be mildly sedated with local anesthesia). Some recovery time; possible pain. He'd be in and out of the military hospital within about two hours. No heavy lifting for a little while, but no major issues predicted.
In the end my husband decided to go ahead with the vasectomy. We're almost 30 and have two kids, and he felt that it was a better idea than me having an invasive surgery/complications or being on hormonal bc. He is standing here as I type and has not had any post-procedure pain. However, 20 years ago his father DID have some pain (apparently). So your mileage may vary.
I can say that from my perspective it was nice to have my husband offer to undergo the procedure and take a little of the load off my shoulders for family planning. We've been together for 10 years and are absolutely certain that two children are enough (unless for some reason the vasectomy fails at some point, and then we'll be happy with the surprise if we need to be).
Oh- my husband's libido has not changed a bit, unless for the better since we don't have to 'worry' anymore.
I think that it might make sense for a guy in a committed relationship, or one who REALLY never wants to have kids. That's why most docs want a man to be in his 30s and have kids already (at least with military medicine, which is what we deal with). Other posters are right in that you'd still have to deal with STDs as a single guy (or a not-single guy with multiple partners).
There's a treatment in India that's basically a reversible, non-hormonal, non-surgical vasectomy called RISUG/Vasalgel ( http://www.newmalecontraception.org/risug.htm ). Sadly, it'll probably never make it in the US because it's not a money-maker for the FDA.
Please be sure to do research into Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome. It's a very real thing that happens to a decent amount of men when they receive a vasectomy, and many don't even know it exists, and their doctor never mentions it.
My (now) ex domestic partner had a vasectomy and developed PVPS, and the painful erections and orgasms close to ruined his life, and it did ruin our relationship. He has now been through two painful procedures to remedy the problem (nerve stripping, and when that did not help, a reversal).
I do know plenty of guys that have had no problems after the procedure, but it is worth knowing that it does not always end up perfect even if the procedure was done well.
My husband had a vasectomy in 2005, when our children were two and five. He had a longer than normal recovery period because his job is active, but it hasn't caused him any pain or discomfort since. After having two babies, I was very grateful that he was willing to have this procedure done. At the time, I was a good twenty-five years from menopause, and felt relieved to know that I will never need to use condoms or any other form of birth control ever again. We have friends whose vasectomies were more complicated and regret the decision, but we have no regrets, and my libido has definitely increased due to the removal of fear of pregnancy. I think that with a skilled and experienced doctor, this is can be a great option for a man who is completely sure he does not want (more)children. Know that although the procedure can be reversed, there is no guarantee that the reversal will result in fertility.
I see I've been linked here, so I'll share my experience and update what I have written in my blog on the subject. I am coming up to one year post-vasectomy. I went through a Family Planning Clinic in Christchurch, NZ. They perform something hundreds of these procedures per year in this one clinic (only one day per week). Out of 5 males working in our office, only one is now "intact". Some of the guys had theirs done well over a decade ago. None report having had any problems. I spent a decade training guys at one of the largest gyms in Christchurch, many of whom also had a vasectomy. None that I know of had any issues. I have spoken to a well-known paleo GP here in Australia previously about vasectomies when I first started researching them, mentioning the number of online reports of vasectomy horror stories. He made two valid points; 1. People who are happy with how things went generally don't feel they have to go on the internet and let the world know. Those who for whatever reason aren't, generally do - skewing the "data" 2. He seemed to think that their was a lot of artificial reporting of vasectomy/contraception horrr/fail stories, put there by various religious groups in an effort to discourage people from the practice. I don't know if this is true, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least.
I had only minor bruising for a day or two after. I did dose up large on fish oil capsules post-procedure, and I took analgesia that night as a (needless) preventitive strategy. I needed no pain relief at any point after.
Everything "worked as it should" when tested.
All of my swimmers were gone by the first test.
I have had two episodes of vague discomfort on my left side (almost like a blue balls feeling) - both well-spaced and both gone within a few hours. No patterns to them that I can see Possibly related to sexual activity at the time??
I have had a vague sensation that something is "disconnected" down there. This lasted from the time of the procedure through to the last couple of months. This has had no effect on function, and from my reading may be related to a disruption in acetylcholine transmission along the vas deferens. It definitely felt more like a sensory issue than anything else. Interestingly, that disconnected feeling has disappeared. And no - I haven't had the wires spontaneously reconnect!
I wrote on the blog re: autoimmune relationships. I am not convinced by the evidence.
I read many studies prior to getting the procedure done. I would not have had it done had there been any convincing and robust evidence regarding lowered testosterone status. What strikes me, however, is that most men seem to be of a certain age when getting one done (late 30's to 40's). And when you look around at the general population (the ones who would be studied), what do you think their testosterone levels are like?? How are they eating, sleeping, exercising? How do you separate that background noise out from what might be occuring post-vasectomy?
Overall - no problems, no regrets, and more importantly no kids. Oh, and a whole lot of fun. ;)
Most of the men I've know who have gotten snipped don't regret it in the slightest. They've been happy with it. I've known a couple men who have gotten the procedure.
//I've known a few more who should have....
I think a vasectomy is a good idea for any guy that is done having all the babies he and his partner desires OR he has no drive to have any children ever. If we didn't want babies, I would totally sit my partner down for a chat about his interest in getting one, because guaranteeing a pregnancy-free sex life is no picnic. I mean, the alternative being tubal ligation, at least a vasectomy is less invasive. It's not going to mess with your hormones, because it's not like they're knocking out your testicles or anything. There are a few post-surgery conditions to be aware of, like anything, but it is a very commonly performed procedure with very rare occurrences of negative experiences. Quick snip or a lifetime of barrier method birth controls? Maybe I'm biased as a lady, but quick snip seems like a better long-term option!