As told to Femi
A vasectomy is a procedure where the tube that carries sperm from the testicles is tied up or sealed in order to prevent the sperm from reaching the penis. This procedure is mostly permanent although it may be reversed in some cases.
Last year, I spoke to five men about their opinions on vasectomies. These men were in various stages of their lives and all of them agreed that it was something they would consider. One of these men, Ayo, a 35-year-old man, reached out to me a few weeks ago to let me know that he had followed through with the procedure. He spoke to me about how his vasectomy procedure went.
When we got married, my wife and I agreed to have three children. After our first child, we agreed to go on family planning to give space between our children. My wife wanted the intrauterine device birth control method but the doctors kept putting off the procedure for different health reasons. By the time they cleared us, the doctors found out that she was already pregnant with our second son. This was January 2016. After we had our child in September 2016, my wife finally got her IUD.
Unfortunately, she started getting a lot of unpleasant side effects like painful period cramps, weight gain and mood swings. In 2020, we considered other family planning options that would not affect her negatively. I did some research and read about vasectomies but I was initially sceptical. I still wanted to have three kids and vasectomies are sometimes irreversible. I discovered that the procedure wouldn’t affect my sexual performance in bed and it only meant that my semen would just not have sperm in it. I started warming up to the idea.
I couldn’t get the procedure done immediately because my family and I were moving to Canada and this meant I couldn’t meet my follow-up appointments.
When I got to Canada, I started making plans so I contacted a doctor. He was sceptical and asked about my wife’s birth control methods. I let him know that my wife’s family planning measures were having effects on her and I’d like to take over the responsibility. Although I really wanted a third child, I quickly found out that raising one child wasn’t easy, let alone three. The doctor referred me to a specialist. We set up an appointment, the urologist assessed my genital area and I got cleared for surgery. After this, we agreed on a date for the procedure.
Six weeks later, on the day of the surgery, I drove down to the hospital around 9 am. I had taken the morning off from my job. I was told to shave my entire scrotum completely before the vasectomy to avoid contaminating the site. I wasn’t given general anaesthesia so I was awake during the procedure and even had a casual conversation with the doctor about our kids. My scrotum area was numbed with local anaesthesia while I lay on the operating table and she made a small cut and tied up my tubes.
The vasectomy took only 30 minutes. There was a plaster on my scrotum covering the site of the surgery. I had to keep the plaster on for at least 48 hours and I couldn’t shower for 24 hours. I also couldn’t do anything strenuous for two weeks because it could aggravate the vasectomy site.
I stopped playing football or doing any exercises and focused on healing. I was told to avoid sex during that period although I couldn’t have sex even if I wanted to. I couldn’t bear the thought of accidentally hurting myself.
I work from home and I was able to go back to work that same day. I was initially concerned that sitting long hours at a desk would affect me but that didn’t turn out to be a problem.
For the first three days, I walked like a penguin as I was being careful not to hurt my scrotum which was painful. By the eighth day, I was able to walk normally again. I even had sex with my wife.
Two months later, I went for my follow-up appointment to check if the procedure was successful. To do this, I masturbated into a cup and my semen was tested to check if there was any viable sperm in it [as there could be residual sperm for about 12 more ejaculations.] The next day, I got an email from the doctor telling me that there was no sperm count in my semen sample, meaning the procedure was successful.
I’m really glad I went through with this procedure. Not only is my wife able to live normally without the side effects of the IUD, but we can now have sex without contraceptives and not worry about pregnancy.
My wife was surprised I went through with the vasectomy. She thought I was going to chicken out along the way because Nigerian men are usually scared of vasectomies. She was concerned for me but I reassured her that everything was going to be okay. To me, it was something that needed to be done if we wanted a healthy sex life without constantly worrying about unplanned pregnancies. My successful procedure even made a friend of mine decide to get a vasectomy.
Not a lot of people know that I underwent the procedure, but some of the people who do are sceptical about it. Someone asked me what I would do if my wife left me and I had to marry someone else. However, I’ve made a personal decision that I don’t want any more children, especially when I’m old. It’s easy to make your peace with a vasectomy when you’ve made that decision.
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