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To be surprised at these comments by doctors about vasectomies?

(48 Posts)
SharkiraSharkira Wed 25-Oct-17 20:34:04

Was watching a programme the other day about people (men and women) who are choosing to be childfree. Some of them, most I think, have either gone through sterilisation/vasectomy in order to ensure they will not get or make anyone else pregnant, or were trying to do so.

I often see it suggested on here, particularly for men, that if they are sure they don't want children they should take responsibility for their own fertility and have a vasectomy. Fair enough. Except the two men featured in the programme had been trying pretty hard and not gotten very far - 1 guy was 29 and had been trying for 11 years! The other was 30, so not exactly teenagers.

Guy 1 during the duration did eventually get his vasectomy. I just found the doctor's questions in the pre-op consultation quite intrusive and rude. He was asking the guy if his wife knew about it, if she was in agreement, and if he was doing it behind her back/with her consent! I can't imagine it being ok for them to ask a woman those questions, but either way it is his body, what business is it of the doctors?! Would he have refused to do it if he said his wife didn't know or didn't agree?

I felt really sorry for the Guy 2 too, he was 30 and had Aspergers - he was so paranoid and stressed about getting someone pregnant he found it really hard to get into a relationship, he even had nightmares about it. In the end the doctor wouldn't do it because he wasn't in a relationship hmm

Aibu to think this is unfair and the doctors were out of order?

Obvs I realise that it can be very difficult to get sterilised at all, man or woman, but at least a vasectomy is, in theory, reversible.

JulietNeverMetRomeo Wed 25-Oct-17 20:50:07

It sounds awful and unprofessional to be honest, but I suppose they want to be 100% sure (obviously not the best way to go about this) because reversals are expensive and not always successful.

MissConductUS Wed 25-Oct-17 20:57:55

In the US they have to do that kind of counseling and document it to protect themselves from medical malpractice suits later. When my husband had that conversation with the urologist it took about 30 seconds because I was there, we had two children and neither of us wanted any more.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 25-Oct-17 21:01:51

When I was sterilised I was certainly asked if my husband knew and agreed to it. Which I was a bit annoyed about. I don't need his permission to control my own fertility! But I guess they're making sure you've talked it through as a couple.

Sounds very unfair that they wouldn't do the second guy because he wasn't in a relationship.

Monoblock67 Wed 25-Oct-17 21:06:39

My husband had one at 29, and he was thoroughly grilled. When he explained that his wife (me) had been told it would be life threatening to have another baby, they let him proceed. Still made comments about how young he was, but he was married with two children and no potential future for a third (at present!). I wasn’t surprised by it, from what I’ve heard they are particularly difficult to be accepted for, for lots of reasons.
I think doctors are sometimes very blunt in these situations, purely because of the limited options it gives you, and they have to shock you to reality in a way

engineersthumb Wed 25-Oct-17 21:20:33

I think it is reasonable to really investigate the motives for these decisions in unusual cases. At the age of 28 I may have opted for surgery, by 30 I felt differently and at 38 I've two rug rats at home! I also think that there should be better information on the risks of vasectomy operations. I was quite blindly going to arrange an op and it was my wife that highlighted the level of risk and typical side effects.

IdaDown Wed 25-Oct-17 21:27:55

My (male) friend has never wanted kids. He had a vasectomy in his late 30s. He went private as he’d tried via GP previously and been turned down. I’m sure one of the factors to being turned down was that he has never really had a long term relationship.

He now has to have the “I’ve had a vasectomy” very early with girlfriends. I suppose there’s no ambiguity of ‘he might change his mind’.

430West Wed 25-Oct-17 21:29:58

The trouble is LARCs are very, very effective at preventing pregnancy, and on the whole have a variety of positive side effects for the woman.

On MN there seems to be an almost unbelievable degree of reporting bias whereby every other woman with some form of LARC reports serious issues with it, a 'fact' that simply isn't borne out by the statistics at population level.

LARC should always be the first line of 'defence'. Vasectomy/sterilisation are big deal operations with many IMO underplayed side effects and should only be entered into in the most extreme of circumstances.

LadyWithLapdog Wed 25-Oct-17 21:37:01

I didn't see the programme you're referring to. Some of the questions will be to ascertain there's no coercion and to reduce the likelihood of regret. Vasectomies should be considered non-reversible or not with a good success rate in any case and usually not on the NHS (reversal). So it is a big deal.

TheEmpressWears Wed 25-Oct-17 21:40:35

I'm sure they expect these guys to be back at 48 looking for it to be reversed.

It must happen a lot.

So they have to MAKE them think. MAKE them put themselves in their own shoes a decade down the line. It's different for women I think because we grow up knowing there's a time frame.

I think men are very insouciant about fatherhood until they get to about 45ish and then if they haven't got children they often feel tick tock themselves.

Heckneck Wed 25-Oct-17 21:45:06

It's necessary for them to ask these questions. My OH had one and is 30, we have two kids and are done. We both sat in the room whilst he asked the questions. I don't blame them for not sterilising men that aren't in relationships. It's likely that if they did get into a relationship they might regret their decision to be made infertile.

SharkiraSharkira Wed 25-Oct-17 21:48:37

I just felt it was wrong of them to question whether his wife was ok with it - they didn't have children but he had been trying to have one for 11 years so it seemed fairly cut and dried that he definately didn't want kids!

That should be the only thing that matters really, man or women. We rightly protect people's right to bodily autonomy and that should include sterilisation if that is what they want. Coercion is a problem of course, but as people are always capable of lying there wouldn't be any way to guarentee that they aren't being forced into it.

Guy 2 it seemed like a bit of a vicious circle which is why I felt bad for him - he didn't feel comfortable getting into a relationship because he didn't want to have sex with someone and get them pregnant. Obvs any potential partners could use LARC or just regular contraception but he was so terrified of getting someone pregnant he couldn't take that risk. He wanted to be in control of his own fertility, regardless of his partner. Which is actually the most responsible thing to do according.

Autumnchill Wed 25-Oct-17 21:54:07

My husband had one last year and at 46 was asked all about me, how old I was, did I have children (not we, but I), had I ever wanted children, how long had we been married etc.

SharkiraSharkira Wed 25-Oct-17 21:56:00

Most of the people in the programme were choosing not to have children because they had various conditions that they didn't want to pass on to future children, rather than just because they didn't feel like them. So again, they are not likely to change their minds as they are presumably always going to have those conditions.

Heckneck, not necessarily. They could just choose a partner who also did not want children, or didn't want any more.

I knew someone who had a vasectomy very young, in his early 20's, because his son was severely disabled and he wanted to focus all his energy on his existing child, which is very admirable I think.

I realise they have to make people aware of the repercussions but I'm just uncomfortable with the idea that people cannot be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies, especially if they are young.

bengalcat Wed 25-Oct-17 22:01:40

Reasonable for a GP to ask these questions as both female and male sterilisation should be considered irreversible and most importantly the NHS won't fund a reversal / IVF etc should someone change their mind / nth sir circumstances change in the future . That said what your partner thinks is largely irrelevant - if you make or female wish to be sterilised then that's your decision alone .

lalalalyra Wed 25-Oct-17 22:04:13

I think there is still veyr much an attitude of being dismissive of anyone who doesn't want children, or who doesn't want more children.

I get that people change their mind and questions have to be asked, but sterilisation is an area where medical professionals very much take the attitude of knowing better.

People know themselves what they want. Nobody asks to be sterilised easily.

My GP practise are a nightmare for this. I'm mid 30's, I have 5 bio children, plus DS1. DH has been strongly advised against vasectomy because of issues with anaesthetic and clotting. I wanted sterilised 8 years ago, but was too young. They see the fact that I have 2 more children as "proof" I changed my mind - 1 condom failure (which I accept we probably had a hand in) whilst on the pill and 1 coil failure isn't proof of anything. Apparently when I'm 40 they'll refer me, so DH and I won't be having PIV sex until then because another child would destroy us both - both my eldest DD and our youngest have multiple complex health issues.

Birdsgottafly Wed 25-Oct-17 22:04:23

We are at the point that we are today, because of the number of people who later down the line said that the process was too easy.

We had a different system at one point and it didn't work long term, so it was changed.

millenia Wed 25-Oct-17 22:06:25

My DP had a vasectomy at 31, we have no children. He was asked questions, as he should have been, but no resistance or difficulty getting it at all. He was told reversal would not be carried out on NHS and may fail even if you did attempt it, think he had to sign re that too. I find it sad that people are not allowed to decide about their own bodies.

TammyswansonTwo Wed 25-Oct-17 22:19:55

If you think that's bad you should see how women who seek sterilisation are treated. Shocking, especially those without children.

ZandathePanda Wed 25-Oct-17 22:20:03

When my third was 6 weeks old, I asked my GP my husband ask if he could have the snip. He was 36. She said no as he was still young enough to have another family if he ever left me. What I did was burst into tears (hormones) what I should have done is tell her off for being so insensitive and say if she thinks he will do that I will book him right now!

BaDumShh Wed 25-Oct-17 22:24:57

Surely this could be alleviated by making vasectomy reversals chargeable. Vasectomies on the nhs, reversals need to be paid for privately.

TammyswansonTwo Wed 25-Oct-17 22:25:38

430West, I don't really like your tone there.

An "almost unbelievable" level? So it's just made up? The Mirena coil quite literally destroyed my life for an entire year while I battled to have it removed, leading to the most traumatic medical experience of my life (up against some stiff competition) and requiring surgery to remove it. It was completely and utterly horrific and I am very familiar with gynae issues since I have endometriosis.

I was in absolute agony every single day, experiencing severe contractions and debilitating pelvic pain, which my consultant refused to attribute to the Mirena since they "don't cause pain" (but which miraculously stopped when it was removed). You can say that these issues aren't representative of the wider population but how do you know that? I know for a fact that my consultant didn't report my side effects and I have spoken to many women who've been in a similar situation, completely dismissed, and whose side effects wouldn't have been reported either.

As with all such things, there's not nearly enough interest or research into these issues, and the same goes for tubal ligation, mesh and so on. I know some women who've have been very happy with the Mirena but others who have had the most horrendous time - their doctors don't give a shit, and then they have to contend with ridiculous comments like that which imply it's not true. Ugh.

EB123 Wed 25-Oct-17 22:26:46

My husband had a vasectomy earlier this year aged 31. I just checked and he was asked the same questions, I think it is just standard, it was all pretty straightforward after.

Titsywoo Wed 25-Oct-17 22:33:45

When DH had his I had to come to an appointment where we were asked were we sure that we didn't want more children (what if our children died etc). I had to agree that I was happy for him to go ahead. He had his at 30.

GrowThroughWhatYouGoThrough Wed 25-Oct-17 22:35:53

My dh had a vasectomy last year and the dr asked him if our children died in an accident would he be ok with not having any more?!!!

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