In these last weeks we have heard about vasectomy, mainly because of the free campaign that the Instituto Nacional Materno Perinatal is offering, which runs throughout the month of September.
However, there are many doubts and myths about this clinical procedure, as well as a great social prejudice. We interviewed three men—someone thinking about having a vasectomy, someone who's already had one, and a doctor—to share their knowledge and beliefs on the subject.
At 27, Gianfranco is convinced that he doesn't want to have children, and even though he often receives the comment “you're too young”, he doesn't doubt his decision.
“I know that the process is quite simple and that it can be reversed, although the reversal is not 100% safe. I plan to be able to perform this procedure at the end of the year, "says Gianfranco. This does not mean that paternity is denied, since if one day he decided to be a father, he would opt for adoption.
One of the reasons why Gianfranco would not want to bring someone into the world is instability in all senses: economic, environmental, among others. However, the main reason for him is the dedication that goes into raising a child.
“I have seen in my parents a constant dedication to me and my sisters, even though we are not children, we are still their responsibility. I don't see myself doing that, people might see it as selfish, but why should it be? I have goals that I want to meet, academic and work, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that," he explains.
Gianfranco adds that society also exempts men from contraception, since it is thought that women are the ones who should take care of themselves. «I was in a religious school, and the little they taught us about sexual education was directed towards women. Even when a girl gets pregnant, everyone blames her and not the man." It is important to him that people are taught from an early age that sexual protection is the responsibility of both.
He also mentions the criticism men receive who have a vasectomy. «There are people who tell you “are you going to have a vasectomy? Are you gay?” as if that were an insult. Or those who believe that "you are going to lose your manhood", because they do not conceive that a man does not want to have children. They are macho ideas that must disappear, “he concludes.
“I decided to have the procedure because I didn't want to reproduce, not because I didn't want to be a dad. I could probably adopt or fall in love with someone who has children, but I wouldn't bring anyone else into the world to avoid creating another carbon footprint," says Omar, who began to have this thought at the age of 21, and now at 28 the procedure has already been performed.
In addition, she mentions that by doing this procedure, her partner would no longer have to take any hormonal birth control. "I have been able to see how there are women who react very badly with these types of methods," she tells us.
He had his father's support at all times, his mother initially had doubts, but was finally on his side. Most of his friends respected his decision, but some thought he was too young. Even when he started the process, he had questions from doctors because of his age.
Omar believes that it has always been thought that women should use contraceptive methods. «I think it is part of the macho culture, for example, the birth of birth control pills for men is being delayed due to side effects, but those for women already have several effects. Also, I'm sure there are several men who think that taking up contraception makes them less masculine, which doesn't make any sense,” he explains.
“Vasectomy is a contraceptive method that cuts sperm production and is 99.9% effective,” explains Antonio, a urologist by profession.
Among the different variations of the procedure, there is the vasectomy with a scalpel and the vasectomy without a scalpel. The latter is gaining popularity, due to the practicality of the procedure. To perform it, an almost imperceptible cut is made with forceps, through this opening the vas deferens is extracted and both ducts are tied. Postoperative pain and bleeding is minimal, as is the possibility of complications. It is an outpatient operation, the patient can resume their daily activities that same day.
It is recommended that the patient not make any physical effort for a couple of days. In addition to placing cold compresses on the area and wearing tight underwear for the first few days.
On the other hand, Antonio recommends that patients who have some type of chronic pain or testicular inflammation avoid performing the procedure, because it can increase pain later on. It is also not appropriate to perform it in patients with an active infection.
There is the possibility of reversing the procedure, however the possibilities vary between 30% and 90%, depending on the time the operation was performed. «Lower success rates are seen in patients after 5 years of undergoing the operation. Under 5 years, vasectomy has a good reversal success rate”, explains Antonio.
Most of the patients who visit Antonio are between 35 and 45 years old, and already have a family. However, it stands out the fact that any man is free to undergo this procedure due to the principle of autonomy, so no doctor could refuse to perform the operation.
A very important fact is that after performing the procedure it is necessary to continue using another contraceptive method for approximately three months or 28 ejaculations, since the effect is not immediate.
For Antonio, one of the main reasons why men hesitate to have a vasectomy, are the myths that revolve around it. “It is thought that it can affect sexual performance, cause permanent damage to the genital organs, increase the risk of cancer or heart disease. All of this is false, there are investigations that show that there is no relationship between sexual performance and having undergone a vasectomy. These ideas come mainly from the machismo of our society”, concludes Antonio.
Vasectomy is a simple procedure to perform, which ensures almost 100% contraception. Some young people are choosing to do it, despite the negative comments they receive when expressing their decision. This decision should not be associated with age, currently we are told that we must decide what to dedicate ourselves to for the rest of our lives at the age of 16, why couldn't we have the same attitude towards this decision as well.