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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Vasectomy: Want to hear about it?

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Author Topic: Vasectomy: Want to hear about it?
Heather
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Hey y'all: so, in a week, my partner is going to be getting a vasectomy.

Obviously, this is not a method of birth control that will be available to many of you, or what most of you have interest in.

But I thought I'd check in and see if it's something you felt like you wanted to hear about, when it came to both my feelings about it, his feelings, the experience with the surgery and healing period, the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

If it is, give me a holler, and we'll be happy to share as we go.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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treetops
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I'd be interested to hear about it, it's not something I've heard or read much about and it'd be good to hear about it from both your perspectives.
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Ecofem
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This is exciting news! I've done a lot of thinking about birth control options for women and men as well as a bit of fuming that women have to bare the physical burden of the vast majority of current birth control methods available. It's also frustrating how often women and men, but men less frequently, aren't trusted to make the best, informed decisions for THEIR own health and lives in general. I'd be coming to this from the perspective that while I'd potentially be interested in having biological kids one day--and, therefore, hope it'd be an option/choice a partner and I could make-- I also fully support each individual's decision for birth control. (Not that my opinion here matters at all, I'm just mentioning it because you asked if we interested in hearing more. [Wink] ) I'm also awfully curious!

I wish him a good surgery and speedy recovery, and look forward to and will appreciate hearing more about it. [Wink]

[ 01-15-2010, 07:16 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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Heather
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Okay, then! I know Blue has already done some of his own personal journaling around this, so I'll holler at him to add it in in a bit.

Here's our sitch and some of my thoughts:

So, he's 42. I turn 40 in a few months. He'd already been thinking about this for himself for a few years. Thankfully in the state of Washington, since he's without health insurance like I am, he got okayed for the reproductive health program so this is 100% paid for by our state.

Long story short, for myself -- I support other women who choose differently -- I'm not at all comfortable with a pregnancy that would lead to a birth at my age. Beyond the additional risks it poses, period, I still live without health insurance, so my risks would be even greater. As well, as some of you may know, my body doesn't do well with pregnancies: I get severe hyperemesis, and I also tend to miscarry, so that's both a) even more need for great healthcare, beyond any healthcare and b) means pregnancy for me is likely to end in poor health or miscarriage regardless. To boot, my feelings throughout most of my life have generally been that if I am going to parent, I would prefer to foster parent and/or adopt. And regardless, I remain not in a financial position to parent to date. Have never been before, still am not now. Don't know if I ever will be.

To be perfectly honest, too, through almost all of my life, while I have loved some of my partners a whole lot, I've never really had the sense with nearly all of them that co-parenting was something I wanted to do with them.

Except, oddly enough, with this partner. In other words, when I scroll through my relationship history, this is the only partner I would have ever (both the first time we were together back when we were in our early 20's and now that we're together again) have really considered co-parenting with. Which isn't to say we still can't, mind you, when it comes to fostering, which again, is really something I feel better about for myself anyway. And the fact of the matter is that in the years we spent apart, per our age, we basically just missed the right reproductive window for us if there was going to be one.

That can feel a little heavy sometimes, so can create tiny moments of doubt about if we should do this. But then we both recognize we simply can't turn back time, and it's not like in five years from now, my becoming pregnant will be a better plan or likely prospect, so.

That all said, I'm incredibly excited. There's an irony to my being a contraceptive counselor, which is that I can't use most contraceptives. Not only at this point am I an over-35 smoker, I also have had everything from just feeling really lousy to profound allergic reactions with hormonal methods, even with Plan B. I can't do a Paraguard IUD because my periods are already very painful. Can't do a Mirena b/c the hormone in it is one I have an allergic reaction to. I haven't wanted to get a tubal because having had one abdominal surgery in my life, I just really have wanted to avoid any more, if possible.

I've been fine with using condoms (especially since I would have been using them anyway when it came to safer sex) and cervical barriers, as have my partners. And there were a handful of years in there where I was only dating women, so contraception wasn't even an issue. (In fact, I keep jokingly telling Blue that he's about to create a total equilibrium for the one perk of sex with women men couldn't bring to the table. [Smile] ) But I've been sexually active in a way where I had to use contraception (time off for girls-only notwithstanding) since 1986. That's close to 25 years of having to deal with contraception and be concerned about unwanted pregnancy. Sometimes, that feels like a Very. Long. Time.

The prospect of being female-bodied and being sexually active with a male-bodied partner and NOT having to worry about a pregnancy or contraception is really blowing my mind. It sounds like HEAVEN to me. Those things are obviously manageable, most women manage them all their/our reproductive lives, but having two less things and worries TO manage is just a very cool prospect. having that change be because of something a male partner did to take that responsibility on himself is also no small deal.

His surgery is next Thursday. We already went to the surgeon's office and had an initial consultation a few weeks ago, and both the surgeon and his staff seemed really fantastic. I'll go with him and be in the room on that day, and am going to be on hand in the next day or so after that to help him out as I can with his healing process, and take care of him while he recuperates.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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Wow, thanks for being so candid about this! I have a few questions/comments, if you don't mind. [Smile]

First, yes, that's definitely ironic about counseling people on BC methods while being quite limited yourself. As a feminist, I find myself torn on this issue because while I am glad there ARE BC options, I'm still not impressed by them because there are so many drawbacks. (My state also has a similar plan that covers people who are uninsured but not all insurance covers BC for those who have it.) Why do you think there haven't been more developments in birth control for men, other than condoms but less permanent than vasectomies? Is it because society puts the BC burden on women or because it truly is scientifically harder to create? Do you see this changing in the near future?

Second, how did the doctors react to your partner's interest in a vasectomy? It seems like they are good about it but it seems that most all women are given a very hard time when they express interest in a tubal ligation and that younger men interested in vasectomies also may face some hurdles. (Although I do think of the very sad flipside of forced sterilization. [Frown] )

I could go on but it'd be getting off topic so I'll stop and say thanks for now. [Smile]

[ 01-16-2010, 10:21 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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Heather
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Lena: we actually know that one of the main reasons that there have been less developments in BC for men is that researchers have a VERY hard time getting men to participate in the clinical trials needed for new methods.

Mind, my sense is that there is also less funding for developing these methods, because -- and we can't know if this is an accurate assumption or not; I think it tends to be based on condom use -- funders/companies assume they are not going to be profitable because men are not really going to use them.

I've never seen any suggestion that methods for men are scientifically tougher to create or develop, no.

Per how the doctor reacted, he basically asked us about if we wanted to parent, but didn't put a lot of emphasis on it given our ages. Had we been ten years younger, the conversation may have been a bit different.

But we filled him in on our status with this, Blue let him know it was something he'd been thinking about for years, and that was that. The doctor also knowing I worked in reproductive health likely played a part in the mellow of this, too: he knew both Blue and I were already very informed about the procedure and what it meant.

(Just FYI, as it turns out, this doctor also used to be an abortion provider. [Smile] )

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Blue Griffin
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I am getting the vasectomy tomorrow. I think I am pretty typical in not considering this option for as long as I had.

In making this decision I found myself thinking about my sexual history and my relationship to birth control and felt it worth reviewing all this before I go through this procedure. I will qualify all this by saying a few things about me. The majority of my sexual relationships have been heterosexual and since these posts are on my journey to get to this point it is about my attitudes about birth control and reproducing. I am not anti-child, even though most of my adult life I have not wanted to reproduce. There was a brief period when I was married and was actively trying, but that didn't happen for a variety of reasons. I have seriously explored adoption and fostering children as well and know that someday, when the time is right I will be a parent and a darn good one. But I have not chosen to reproduce and I am at a certain point in my life where it feels as if that ship has sailed. I am not looking into doing anything such as freezing sperm since I am committed to an accepted that I will not biologically reproduce.

Ever since I have been sexually active I had a packet of issues I was concerned about when it came to sex. I wanted it to be mutual and fun. I wanted to have a lot of it with a partner who matched me and enjoyed being with me. But I was very concerned about the consequences of having sex. I didn't want to pick up or transmit any infections and mostly I did not want to get a girl pregnant. All these issues came into play when I would have a partner, the first set were overall pretty well negotiated but the second set was always a concern. Especially causing a pregnancy.

I learned early on that sex led to pregnancy. The message drummed into me that if I was going to have sex "cover it up". I was the kid in junior high who taught the other kids about condoms and what they were for. I remember a naively bringing condoms that I stole from my brothers room to a school dance in 7th grade. I didn't have a girlfriend then, but I had them just in case. In doing so I felt as if I was prepared for whatever could happen that night.

The emerging safer sex movement really ramped up in the 80's when I was in high school, for a brief period teachers and adults talked about the use of condoms openly. I admit early on I worried less about STIs than I did about pregnancy. I was so concerned about it that I made sure I always had condoms or knew how to get them. I managed high-school pretty well in that regards. Holding off sex with partners until they and I were ready and when we became sexual condoms were always used. There were a few "pregnancy scares" where my steady girlfriend was late in having her period and we freaked out a bit, but it was just that her cycle shifted. These incidents reinforced my belief that contraception was just as much my responsibility as it was my partners.

In my early college years my girlfriend at the time became pregnant. This happened during a very intense time in our lives with us going to school a 1000 miles apart. We decided to terminate the pregnancy and I was with her through out the process. The emotional manipulation that went on as we navigated our way through this process was awful, with supposedly supportive physicians pulling out every trick in the book to steer her away from her choice or make her feel bad for the choice. We navigated it the best we could and everything went well. Despite it being the best we could do and the support we had and gave each other it was emotionally difficult. Eventually the relationship fell apart, in unpacking it with her we both affirmed the choice made, ultimately it was her choice.

Since then, I had intense relationships, fell in love several times and had great casual partners. Birth control was always discussed and used and I didn't have any more situations where the sex led to a woman getting pregnant. Sometimes the only methods used were female centered but often not. It was often a relief to have a partner who took this on, while I was someone who wanted to be involved and asked questions, when a woman would tell me it was ok and I trusted her I would go with it. As a male it is very easy to fall into not taking on this responsibility. I don't know if that is a character failing, cultural conditioning or what. But even with the message burned into me, I admit that when I didn't have to make sure condoms were around and was still having sex I let go of what was my end of the responsibility.

Over the past 5 years I have been sexually active and with multiple partners. During that time I used condoms, since none of the relationships were ones where reproducing was a desired outcome. I also wanted to protect myself from contracting an STI. During this phase a friend of mine who was married and reproduced the number of times they wanted too told me he was getting a vasectomy. I thought about doing it then.

So this leads me to where I am today. Tomorrow, I am getting a vasectomy. I don't want to get Heather pregnant and seeing as how all forms of birth control are not the best or most healthy option for her it makes sense for me to get this done. It also helps that the State of Washington has a great program for providing these services to the uninsured.

What I am about to experience tomorrow and the next few days will be nothing compared to the issues she has had to deal with in managing birth control. For myself it means one of the big concerns I have worried about as a heterosexual male will no longer be a concern. I am also glad to take on this level or responsibility for birth control in this relationship.

I am a bit nervous, but not as much as I thought I would be. I have read up on the procedure and despite my queasiness for all things medical, I understand the process, know what I am about to go through and know the potential risks. In my mind I am equating this to the same as a root canal, which I have needed extensively. There is a level of disassociation I need to do because if I dwell on the very rare things that can go wrong I will translate every ache into something more than it is. I may need talking down from some of this.

I am more nervous about the preparation for the procedure. One of the instructions is to shave or trim the area where the incision will be made. The thought of having to try and remove hair from that area has me very nervous. I am not sure how I will get this done, thankfully I have a partner who can help. There is also the option of having the doctor do it, but I would rather have him focusing on the procedure and not worry about my hair.

I am also bummed about the things I can't do for a week after the procedure. No riding my bike, no long hikes or wrestling with my dog, no sex and no soaking in the tub. The not having sex for a week after I can deal with easy, not sure the no baths will be as easy.

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Blue Griffin
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So tomorrow we go to see Dr. Snip (not his real name, but he does market himself that way). As instructed the hair needed to be trimmed. Heather was a trooper and in the whole world she is the only person I trust enough to do that for me. That being said, for me, to have anyone with a sharp instrument around that area is nerve wracking. I was nervous and tensed up a lot, kept trying to take deep breaths which resulted in having to burst out in massive giggles. It's done.
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Heather
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I'm up early to try and get a little work in before we go, and Blue is upstairs sleeping.

I trust him in his own decisions with this, and trust that he knows firmly that this is what he wants and feels is best for him. But there's also this part of me that kind of can't believe my luck in this and a niggling doubt I'm dreamin'. [Razz]

Risking TMI (and if I go there, my apologies), one minor and temporary downside of the procedure is that Blue can't have any sex for a week that involves his genitals. Life will most certainly go on, but we're a pretty high-key couple in that department, so it's a bummer. And of course, you always miss something more when you're told you can't do/have it. So, we did make a point of racing last night to try and fill our sexual coffers, as it were, that given.

I'm very educated about the procedure, but Blue's a pretty sensitive guy, and not as comfortable as I am with medical environments and surgeries as I am, so mostly I just hope he'll get through it okay. I'll be there with him, holding his hand if he wants (and geeking out on the whole thing more than will likely be appropriate).

I kept having this paranoia all last week that despite decades of using condoms with many different partners without a break, and with a slip-off only happning a couple times, that it'd be just my luck that before he got the surgery, a condom would break and I'd wind up pregnant. Silly, I know (but only kind of: my luck in life really can be atrociously bad), and I'm glad to report that that didn't happen. Phew!

And with that, off we go!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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treetops
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Thanks to both of you for all the info/insights (it's really interesting to think about the notion of responsibility in terms of contraception, and something I've been pondering a lot lately), and I hope the procedure goes well. [Smile]
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Ecofem
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Blue, I hope your surgery went well and that you have a speedy recovery! Thanks for sharing your experiences here. Because Scarleteen has more female-bodied rather than male-bodied users, it seems I read many more accounts of female experiences with BC. And for that matter, when guys post about BC, it's often an emergency when the BC method failed or was not used in the first place. However, when I read your account (or talk to my brother or boyfriend, for that matter), I hear a very different story about men taking responsibility and acting with care when it comes to contraception. It's nice to hear and I appreciate it. [Smile] I have to say, the vasectomy = root canal equation makes it sound pretty scary and painful!

Heather, thanks for answering my questions about research. Re: doctor's reaction, I talked to a woman in her early-forties who plans to have a tubal ligation done right after she gives birth to her second child. The (apparently quite liberal) doctor asked why but was totally supportive and didn't question her decision. It does make me believe that the age of the patient and doctor's views make a difference, but obviously I can't say anything for sure there. I wish more research would be done in the field but it seems that this won't be happening any time soon due to the interrelated issues of funding and demand.

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Heather
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Just poking my nose in (doing other work besides the boards today, for the most part) to say how it went.

As an onlooker, it was pretty freaking fascinating. If you feel funky about surgeries, you might want to skip this next part.

The surgeon numbed Blue up, then taped his penis back. (It looked a bit like a penis behind a crime scene, which was pretty comical to me. Perhaps more so than it should have been.) He then made a very small incision, located one of each vas deferens, and gently pulled out a loop of it. I wasn't expecting the vas to look so, so white: it looked a lot like a cooked soba noodle, really. He then made a small incision in that, cauterized each end with a teeny tool, then cut the vas in the middle of that loop, pushing it back into the scrotum. He then did the same with the other vas. It was all very quick, and Blue reported it as being very painless.

Yesterday, Blue took it easy at home, and when the anesthesia wore off, did express feeling a lot like he had been kicked very soundly in the testes. But by this morning, he said the soreness level was down to only around a 1 on a 1-10 pain scale.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Blue Griffin
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The procedure went well. It was a lot less involved than a root canal. Heather filled you all in on the details. I couldn't watch. I get squiggy about medical stuff. The snap of the anesthetic was not as bad as I thought and I could feel some pressure as the vas deferens were pulled out but that was all. It was good to have Heather there with me. I could have done it alone but having someone hold my hand and remind me to breathe was better

Dr. Wilson (www.drsnip.com) was excellent, he has done a lot of these procedures, which is why I picked him. The highlight of the visit was when he was done he handed me a little swiss army knife as a keep sake for the event.

The rest of the day was spent in some discomfort but was manageable. I kept my self laying down, had good comfort food handy and watched a lot of movies. I figure complications arise when people don't follow the after care procedures. So I am to take it easy for a week, this is going to be hard I already want to get up and do stuff I shouldn't.

It's one day after the procedure and I am feeling good. Not seeing any sign of any of the complications I was warned about. I was to watch for a lump forming near the incision point, if it was going to form it would have in 24 hours and there is nothing there. Whew!

The next thing to watch for is any soreness over the next 3 days, if none than I will have made it through the riskiest part of this process.

[ 01-22-2010, 02:33 PM: Message edited by: Blue Griffin ]

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Heather
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Poor Blue: he's sore. [Frown] Not a level to be concerned about, but I still feel bad for him.

My Dad though, also someone who had a vasectomy many years ago, said he felt the same way for a few days, so.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Kaydee
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So you are awake during the procedure and your partner can watch it happen? That's awesome I hope I get to share that experience with my partner one day. Thanks for the insight guys =]

--------------------
- Kaydee

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. - Albert Einstein

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Ecofem
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I'm glad the surgery went well (fascinating details!) and I hope you are feeling a lot less sore soon, Blue!

Heather, I'm not sure if I can look at cooked soba noodles again the same way!

That's a very interesting and informative website; I checked it out the other day. The Swiss army knife (wow!) goes well with the dentist analogy: root canal = toothbrush, vasectomy = knife. [Smile]

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Heather
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In all truth, I won't be eating soba noodles for a while myself. [Razz]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Blue Griffin
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Woke up today feeling pretty normal. The soreness has stopped, which is good because if it continued past today that would have meant that something was wrong. Thankfully not. Everything seems to be healing the way it should, no sign of a blood clot or internal bleeding so I am relieved.

One of the interesting things they told me was that the vas deferens would try to reconnect, I think of it as the body healing itself. Kind of an odd feeling thinking about how these little tubes in me are trying to reconnect when I don't want them too. Eventually this process stops.

I still have to take it easy for the next few days, and shouldn't do some of the things I really like to do, no bike riding, no baths, no lifting anything over 20 lbs, no romping with the dog or long hikes. In the list of things I can do within the first week the clinic says I can "write love letters", I should get on that.

Looking forward to this Thursday when I can take a long hot bath, among other things.

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Ecofem
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Just wanted to check in and ask how you're doing, Blue Griffin? I hope you're feeling even better today. [Smile]
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Blue Griffin
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So it has been two weeks and everything is back to normal. Baths, bike rides, long walks and romping with my dog are all back on the table. The incision area has healed up just fine and while I had a little bit of the soreness last longer than expected it went away over time. So no major complications at all. I feel fine.

The next step is to bring a sample into the clinic to confirm the procedure took. This sample is to be brought in in 4 weeks (6 total from the day of the procedure). They gave me a cup and instructions to put it in the fridge if I am not bringing it in right away. Apparently sperm can stay in the tubes for a while so I need to flush the system before they test. They instructed me to ejaculate 15 times before I bring in the sample. Not really a problem. After the tests come back with the intended results I won't need other birth control methods.

One of the things they warned me about was when I do ejaculate the first few times it may be discolored, but not to worry. I didn't quite know what to expect. The first time I did it came out red, I won't make the food analogy that came to mind when I saw it, since we seem to have turned people off of soba noodles but it was a bit disturbing to see such a bright red color come from there. The second time the redness was significantly less and the third time it looked like I had small flakes of rust in the mix. Thinking it will be back to normal coloration by now.

So all in all this was a good experience. Very minor process in the grand scheme of all the birth control options. I think that if a man is certain about not wanting to create offspring that this is a great thing to do. I have a cousin who had one after producing 6 children in 2 marriages but then had it reversed and had two more kids in his most recent and marriage. I can's see going through a reversal. When I told my sister about doing this and she went on this kick about how this is a loss. I think she was more upset about it than I was, she likes being an aunt. I keep thinking I should have more feelings of regret or grief about my reproductive ability being over but I don't. I am confident that this was a good choice for me. It's odd how others react to this, most people are supportive while others seem to express a level of concern that I am giving up something huge. I don't think so and I am very clear that reproducing for me is no longer an option in my life. Plus the genes in my family have been passed on to two nephews and 1 niece.

A few guy friends thought it was awesome and thought they should look into it. While this is not something I want to advertise to people (I am not going to show folks the tiny scar at parties) because I am kind of private, think it is a great thing for guys to do, so I won't shy away from telling people or talking about it. Made me think about how there is no label for this. What do I call myself? Non-Reproductive? Sperm Free?

Thank you to all who expressed healing thoughts and wished me well. I really appreciate the concern. Also thanks for wanting to know about this, hopefully this was useful and insightful.

[ 02-05-2010, 12:48 PM: Message edited by: Blue Griffin ]

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Ecofem
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Thanks for the update! [Smile] I'm glad to hear you're doing well and are happy with your choice. It's interesting to hear about all the samples! I will admit that you've got me intrigued with the new food reference. It's too bad that your sister was upset; it's unfortunate that so often well-being people question their loved ones decisions that they really have no say in anyway but that applies to more than just vasectomies. [Smile]

The recent update on the Scarleteen twitter feed about how quite a few younger men in their teens or early 20's who said they had a vasectomy are lying. Knowing that it'd be rare for someone to have had the procedure done so early, I would probably have my doubts anyway. (A friend of mine talked about a guy she's been seeing who's apparently had one but he's in his early 30s so I'd guess it's more likely.) Still, it's unfortunate that some people are lying about it because it not only is disrespectful and has bad consequences, but also gives vasectomies a bad name! What do you think about this? And not to get all hyper-viligant or paranoid but how could one know for sure that a person in question had one: medical records and/or the scars you mention?

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Blue Griffin
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Today I was finally able to drop off a sample at Dr. Snip's to make sure the procedure was done right. I had to make sure I "flushed the system" at least 15 times in 6 weeks before they would test. Having to do that as opposed to doing it because I want to almost made it a chore, but not really. I went longer than 6 weeks just because my schedule got busy and the days they tested didn't match my days off.

They gave me a handy sample cup, which I put the sample in and quickly drove it over. I half expected to see a parade of guys with little paper bags walking to the clinic, but no such luck. I dropped of my sample, they were all very nice and told me they would get back to me later today.

I just got the call and the procedure took. The tubes did not reconnect. Yippee! Looking forward to sex without one less worry now. I recommend this to anyone who can do this, all in all it was an easy process and the comfort of having one less worry about sex is priceless.

Again, thanks for everyone who followed this process I hope my experience is one that encourages other males to consider vasectomy as part of their birth control plan.

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Ecofem
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I'm glad to hear about this happy ending! Thanks again for sharing your experience. [Smile]
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Heather
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The hilarity is, he announced this here FIRST before telling me in person. He came home and saw me working online while having a telephone interview (I'm tough to distract), and thought he'd be both cheeky and most effective in getting my attention this way.

Stinker. [Smile] On the other hand, right he was!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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