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Notes From The Flip Side: 11.25.2001

I'm 29 years old. On Thursday, November 8th, I went to the urologist and had a vasectomy. I've known for several years that I don't want to have kids of my own (I'd prefer to be a foster parent or adoptive parent) so I did something about it. It was a pretty quick procedure and I experienced only mild discomfort over the next few days.

The urologist detailed everything involved to me before the procedure. He numbed the area by injecting a topical anesthetic, made a small incision in the scrotum (it took one stitch to close; I've received worse injuries at punk shows) and proceeded to sever and cauterize the vas deferens. In laymen's terms, he cut the vas deferens in half and burned the ends closed to reduce bleeding and permanently seal them. It took less than 45 minutes from the time they called me in until the time I left the office.

I drove myself home from the clinic, took that Friday off, spent the weekend in bed and on the couch, and was back at work on Monday. Since then, it seems like nearly everyone I know has been shocked by my decision. No one has been malicious, but friends have told me, among other things, that:

  1. Intelligent people have a responsibility to reproduce
  2. Women won't want to get into long-term relationships with me because they'll want to have children someday
  3. Vasectomies lead to increased risk of prostate cancer

My response to these points follows:

  1. You assume I'm intelligent. I know a number of people who would happily dispute that claim.
  2. If a woman had gotten involved with me because she wanted children and I didn't, the relationship would have ended anyway. Having a vasectomy seems more honest to me. And it certainly puts an end to arguments about whether to have a child.
  3. Although there has been some debate on this topic, there is some pretty compelling evidence that vasectomies do not cause prostate cancer, nor do they increase the risk, nor do they have any link at all.

So why did I have a vasectomy? Several reasons (my rationale for this is about as complicated as my rationale for being a vegetarian).

I think that responds to every reason someone gave me not to have a vasectomy and counters their arguments in a logical, reasoned fashion.

I did not decide to have a vasectomy on the spur of the moment. This is a decision I made for my life after years of consideration. However, most fundamentally, it's a personal decision that exposes me and only me to risk (see above rebuttal to alternate methods of birth control) while affecting my life and only my life (see above rebuttal to how it affects potential partners) and yields exponential, measurable benefits for the planet as the years go by. In the meantime, I'll dedicate my time to cleaning up the mess that everyone - myself included - seems to be making. And I'll dedicate my time to taking care of the kids that no one else seems to care much about.

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