Could I feel what they were doing? Yes.
August 12, 2020 3:55 AM   Subscribe

Rob Delaney on the pain and pleasure of his vasectomy. Also: Previously (and very sadly).
posted by memebake (60 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
we're all making the same face right now, aren't we
posted by inire at 4:33 AM on August 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

What a to do! What's with the shaving? Why the hospital bed? Why can't he walk to the theatre? Why couldn't they get the dosage for the local right? I got my snippedy doo-dah done 20+ years ago by a surgeon who'd been off work for a couple of decades to raise her family and then wanted to get back in business. Vasectomies seemed to be a nice way to give back. Her clinic was a bit like going to visit the dentist. Half way through the can't-feel-a-thing procedure I perked up and said
"I smell burning".
"Yes, that's you"
It's best to cauterise the flappy ends of the severed vas def lest they reconnect in the healing. I imagine a soldering iron would be a suitable tool . . . but for sale in a medical supply catalogue at €400.
posted by BobTheScientist at 4:34 AM on August 12, 2020 [22 favorites]

> we're all making the same face right now, aren't we

I imagine the distribution of faces we're all making is distinctly bimodal
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 4:42 AM on August 12, 2020 [30 favorites]

With apologies to anyone using a screen reader or who can't see the characters:

posted by Braeburn at 5:06 AM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Ok I'm drunk so feel free to bypass this.

Duly warned, here we go. I always hated Louis CK (bear with me, it relates, I promise), and I never really knew why. This was before him being outed as a garbage person, and I as a middle aged white man can't claim to have had some sort of premonition. I just didn't like him. After a fairly long time, though, I realized that what I didn't like was that his humor was very similar to mine. I wasn't jealous about him being famous and me not (maybe a little bit), but more that I couldn't really understand the appeal of a guy who basically said things that everyone felt.

Anyway the reason I mention this is that I totally relate to Delaney's article but don't hate him at all. I also got a vasectomy for the exact same reasons (after 3 rather than 4 kids, and thankfully all are healthy, Jesus) and completely understand where he comes from.

So what's my point here? I don't know, I thought I had something but apparently I don't (see the early caveat). But generally speaking, I highly advise everyone to get a vasectomy if your plumbing works that way.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:17 AM on August 12, 2020 [10 favorites]

I imagine the distribution of faces we're all making is distinctly bimodal

Oh, I don't know. Having had what was (I hope!) an unusually painful IUD insertion where I could certainly feel everything at the time, as well as for many days following... I was definitely feeling something visceral as I read it. Though the idea of going through it once and then being done forever more... that felt alien!
posted by trig at 5:21 AM on August 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

Very unexpected, very sad feels in the middle of that article
posted by memebake at 5:30 AM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

+1 for the SLEEP t-shirt
posted by gwint at 5:33 AM on August 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

When I had my vasectomy, I was lying on the table at the "balls shaved, penis taped to your abdomen" stage and asked the doctor if anyone had ever changed their mind at that point. He chuckled and told me everyone asked him that and the answer was no (although he did have someone disappear from the waiting room once).
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:35 AM on August 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

You know those clinics that claim if you get it done by them on Friday you will be back at work on Monday?


I didn't have the option of sedation, only local anaesthetic.

They did the job fine, with no problems. But it was an INTENSE few minutes of my life.

If you really want to focus right down on the here and now, let a complete stranger with scalpel in hand futter around with your nads, while you are fully conscious, and being told to stay absolutely still.

Get the sedation, guys. Sometimes ignorance is better.
posted by Pouteria at 5:36 AM on August 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

I had a vasectomy last October and it was the most fun I’ve ever had in a medical setting.

The doctor and nurse both liked my Kate Beaton shirt and we got down to business. As I had recently lost more than half my bodyweight I was self conscious about my saggyness and blurted out a warning before pulling my underwear down. This gave us something to chat about during the operation. The doctor asked if I felt much different having lost so much weight and I told her how I did indeed and how much I enjoyed walking in the countryside now. I mentioned how I’d seen otters recently and the doctor, with my balls in her hand and my tubes outside my skin told me she hated me.

We then had to stop for a moment till I had stopped laughing.

We carried on chatting and I gave her a few tips for otter places and it was all over.

10/10 would do again. (But there’s no need as my samples are clear)
posted by gnuhavenpier at 5:55 AM on August 12, 2020 [25 favorites]

Do Not Exercise Hard For Two+ Weeks. That's all.
posted by sammyo at 6:01 AM on August 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

So I was travelling around the country in 2003 after being kicked out of the house by my Republican ex-wife (best leave it there) and was in Seattle for a month or two and given that I definitely didn't want any more children decided it would be a good idea to get sterilized.

So I looked up vasectomy clinics, specifically ones that did trade in cash-on-the-barrelhead transactions (not wanting to bother with insurance claims etc), and found one with an appointment available soon enough that I'd still be able to get cleared afterwards while still in Seattle.

Found the address, and it was not a medical mall but a modest century brick house in a decent neighbourhood with a little sign with the doctor's name on it. Went in, there was a small desk in a waiting area that opened on to a pleasantly furnished somewhat large living room whose main feature was a barber chair on a small section of tile floor.

Filled out the forms, made payment, was invited to pull down my kit and sit in the chair. Doctor rolled up on a stool, explained what was going on, made sure I wanted to have this procedure done and got started.

There was a bit of shaving, and then a swab of 'caine, and a high-pressure injection pad (not a needle) was used to numb things deeper within. Then the scalpel came out. About this point I decided to close my eyes and doing some meditation because I really didn't want to pay too much attention.

Doctor said at one point, "hey, do you want to see your vas deferens?" And I was kind of like, nahh, I'll pass. So he shrugged. The technique was not to cut them but to apply sturdy plastic clips (like a bag clip, but without the removability) to the tubes, since cutting them, even with cautery, wasn't as much of a sure thing. Besides, not having things wandering around in there is better.

Also, ha ha, no burning smell. Definite plus there.

He said the "area" would be tender for a while, but as the incisions were very small and would heal rapidly, just avoid immersion bathing for the rest of the day and everything would be fine.

Oh, also, wank a lot so when you get tested in three weeks we can be sure all the downstream reservoirs have been drained. Sound advice. Naturally I passed the test just fine.

Anyway! I can still feel the clips (of course there are two) if I rummage around! And so can my partner if they're down there with their hands. They're quite small.

Finally, yes, sometimes there's an ache or some itchiness, but some massaging or a gently vigorous scratch helps deal with it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:12 AM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'd agree with the idea of it as a gentle warm-up for the surgeons. I had mine done as the first afternoon patient in a department that also did lots of vaginoplasty's.

And my doctor offered me the choice of general or local anaesthetic. I asked for a recommendation, and he said, "If you don't have to be awake for it, don't. It doesn't hurt, but looking down there and seeing all the other people... it isn't very nice". So I slept through the whole thing!
posted by fizban at 6:38 AM on August 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Men sure love to talk about their balls. Me too, I'm a man and I like mine quite a bit! Every man I know who's had a vasectomy loves to talk about it, although few are as funny doing it as Delaney.

What I really appreciate is him threading in the reason why he got the vasectomy. It's almost entirely about his wife. They don't want more children. He doesn't want her to have to take the Pill. He doesn't want her to have to carry another baby. He's not too self-congratulatory about it but then he's also quite matter of fact. This slightly unpleasant surgery is a thing you can do to assume some of the burden of conception management in a heterosexual relationship. And so he did.
posted by Nelson at 6:41 AM on August 12, 2020 [26 favorites]

I got mine done with local anesthetic only, and it was fine. There was some pain when they administered the anesthetic and only a little physical discomfort after. The real discomfort was psychological, as I was bracing for sudden excruciating pain the whole time (maybe they didn't use enough anesthetic! maybe they didn't apply it everywhere it needed to be!). I ended up having to get a tooth drilled for a filling a few months later, and I would say the procedures are roughly comparable in terms of pain and discomfort.

When I was being prepped for the procedure the nurse washed my scrotum with some kind of warm solution, which he jokingly called the spa treatment. "Don't tell your friends," he said, "or they'll all be lining up for vasectomies."
posted by jomato at 6:43 AM on August 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

What I really appreciate is him threading in the reason why he got the vasectomy. It's almost entirely about his wife. They don't want more children. He doesn't want her to have to take the Pill. He doesn't want her to have to carry another baby.

This is absolutely why I got mine. We don't have any children, she's in her mid 40s so we're definitely not having them, and I want to get her off contraception so she doesn't have to deal with the stress and the hormones and all the other shit that comes along with being infertile.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:51 AM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

What I really appreciate is him threading in the reason why he got the vasectomy. It's almost entirely about his wife. They don't want more children. He doesn't want her to have to take the Pill. He doesn't want her to have to carry another baby.

Of the men I know who talk about their vasectomies, this has been the case for every one of them. I'm sure there are all kinds of other reasons men get that procedure, but the subset I've talked to were all motivated by pretty much what he describes: "I figured after all my wife, Leah, and her body had done for our family, the least I could do was let a doctor slice into my bag and sterilise me."
posted by Dip Flash at 7:02 AM on August 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

I love Rob Delaney, he's got this weirdly overt loving nature that flows like lava in interviews, and it comes out in his writing too, obviously.

Also I love all of you above who have had the snip, it is so unfair how difficult it would be for me to get sterilized.
posted by wellred at 7:10 AM on August 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

I just had it done with the local anesthetic, and it was easy. A lot easier than a root canal. It was *freaky* though. I kind of recommend it just as an experience, there's nothing like it I've ever done. You have to let go of some weird primal fears.
I really enjoyed the bedside banter of the nurse who taped my penis out of the way, an older guy who said he had been doing it for many years. An odd job to have, for sure.
posted by bitslayer at 7:43 AM on August 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I second Jomato's comment. I've had a lot of dental work done in my youth (8 teeth pulled! to make the rest fit in my ferretlike mouth!), and the process of the vasectomy is very similar, and arguably better (farther away from all those sensory organs). The recovery, arguably worse in terms of the amount of goddamn nerves in the area.

Also, since nobody else mentioned so far upthread: you may hear horror stories from people who got theirs done in the 1990s or earlier. Ignore that. There have been huge microsurgical advances, and the chance of complications is much, much lower. If your only reason for not simplifying your sex life is fear of surgery, just do it.

In conclusion, while apparently a lot of (American) guys schedule their recovery time to correlate with the basket-ball tournament of March Madness, I just checked out a bunch of DVDs from the library. So, that's how I watched Last Call at Maud's, a documentary about a lesbian bar, featuring a bartender who bore a STUNNING resemblance to my late homophobic auntie.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:07 AM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Re general vs local anesthetic: I ended up splitting the difference by opting for local anesthetic, then fainting halfway through the operation. Weird way to wake up, I'll tell you that.

"One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself on an operating table in a strip mall, balls shaved, vas deferens out, and his doctor telling his girlfriend, 'I'll just wait until he wakes up before I keep going.'"
posted by springo at 9:07 AM on August 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

But it was an INTENSE few minutes of my life.

The bliss of being a man is almost unimaginable sometimes
posted by tatiana wishbone at 9:22 AM on August 12, 2020 [21 favorites]

His memoir is delightful if anyone is looking for more satisfyingly gross/unpredictable laughs and intense candor in the style of this piece.
posted by dantheclamman at 9:29 AM on August 12, 2020

My memory of it, after the jabs and some slicing sensations, is a brief but incredibly intense pain that was so much I'm sure my brain just disconnected from the rest of my nervous system. But it was very brief, and I thought "that's not so bad." Then I remembered there was another one to do. That, and the smell of the cauterising.

But it was quick and simple and afterwards I got the bus home, and compared to what childbirth looked like, it was nothing.
posted by YoungStencil at 9:34 AM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

What surprised me was how connected the vas is to the nervous system. Kind of explains why getting hit down there stings in a different way than, say, getting punched in the shoulder.

When the doc pulled on mine to do the sectioning, I thought "yeah this should be like pulling on skin" but wow, that was a different sensation.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:47 AM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

The part about wanting his wife to "be able to work and travel more easily and have a bigger world again, after an insane six years of being pregnant and breastfeeding" got me right in the feels. I've spent the last 7+ years either pregnant and horribly sick or caring for a small child during all my free time. My world has been feeling really small for a long time now, and it's unexpectedly lovely to see someone else acknowledge that and put it into words.

Also when my husband got snipped, the length of time he was in the treatment room for the procedure was literally less time than it took me to play ONE (1) day in Stardew Crossing on my ipad in the waiting room. It was absurdly quick.
posted by beandip at 10:03 AM on August 12, 2020 [9 favorites]

Though the idea of going through it once and then being done forever more... that felt alien!

My ex husband had a semi-botched vasectomy that left him with some major scarring on one ball and a more or less permanently painful-to-the-touch set of nuts. I got very good at navigating that minefield but, sometimes when I'd touch things a little wrong, his entire body would seize into a grimace-groan-shriek series of motions that made me feel terrible.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:06 AM on August 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I guess if we're all sharing, my Vasectomy experience involved a general anesthetic of some kind, which hadn't fully kicked in upon my arrival in the operating theater. No, this isn't one of those 'and I felt everything' horror stories, but I did get to hear the nursing staff sort of chatting about their opinions of my Johnson while they waited for the surgeon.

Definitely the weirdest medical experience I've ever had.
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 10:14 AM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Half way through the can't-feel-a-thing procedure I perked up and said
"I smell burning".
"Yes, that's you"
It's best to cauterise the flappy ends of the severed vas def lest they reconnect in the healing. I imagine a soldering iron would be a suitable tool .

That was almost exactly my experience. The office had a whole area for bad vasectomy/neutering cartoons, although it was missing the Gary Larson one where the dog yells out the car window to his friend, "Hey Ted, I'm going to the vet to get tutored!"

The worst part of the whole thing for me was when I had to bring the ejaculate sample to the lab for testing. It was first thing in the morning before work, and unusually full and... humid that morning. Anyhow, I hand my sample and the requisition to the person behind the desk, who was the supervisor. She took one look at it and yelled in a big Eastern European accent, "So, VAT IS DIS? Is it SNOT? VAT?"

"IS VASECTOMY SAMPLE!" I yelled back. That's about the most embarrassed I've been in my adult life.
posted by sneebler at 10:30 AM on August 12, 2020 [11 favorites]

This is such a timeworn middle-aged comedian topic. But I get it, I wouldn't want to waste an opportunity to write about ball surgery, either.
posted by atoxyl at 10:31 AM on August 12, 2020

I went to the reproductive health branch of my local university hospital, so I had a LOT of observers in a room that normally deals with women from out of state. I had local, and felt more-or-less fine the entire time. The attending directed the resident, and a gaggle of MA's looked on in queasy horror.

Honestly I think I was the most comfortable person in the room that day. (I made sure to wear the undies with a smiley face on the front.)

Recovery was pretty quick. I sat on a packet of frozen peas for about a day. Long term recovery, well, it was like having a hangnail that you couldn't do anything about. A hangnail you had to sit on.
posted by endotoxin at 10:35 AM on August 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

My experience was it was about a bit easier than wisdom teeth extraction (local for both), and my motivation was similar to the author. I had a girlfriend at the time who did not deal well with the pill. It seemed like an easy decision to get a vasectomy since I never wanted kids anyway. One thing is do not try and do an ab crunch to see what they're doing. You will regret it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:50 AM on August 12, 2020

Me, to the doc...

"Just letting you know in advance, I always need a double dose of anesthetic at the dentist, it just doesn't ever seem to work well at the usual amount."

Him "Let's see what happens."

Regular dose injection, searing agony, I jump.

Him "I nearly cut your penis off."

PS - He was great, this is just a "no harm, no foul" funny story, I'd recommend him to anyone.

PPS - His name is Dick Chopp.
posted by Wetterschneider at 11:27 AM on August 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

I agree that the most disconcerting thing about the entire procedure was seeing and smelling smoke rising from your own scrotum. A memory that will never fade for me.

Here in Quebec, the clinic I used is overwhelmingly concerned with making sure the procedure renders you massively infertile. Their no scalpel method not only severs the vas deferens, but it also removes 5 mm from each side, then cauterizes each one closed, then uses titanium staples at each end (which I can still feel inside, through the skin, a year later). Sort of a belt plus suspenders plus a second belt type of deal.

I am child-free, and obviously intend to stay that way. I had the procedure done because I didn't feel it was fair that the female partners in my life should continue to bear the burden of hormonal or implant birth control when I could do this one, very easy, very cheap thing that had no lasting side effects or impact on my life of any kind.
posted by jordantwodelta at 12:39 PM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Based on the comments I'm not sure I can stomach the article so I'm gonna pass, but just to add another anecdote, my vasectomy was easy peasy. Took no more than 30m, I was a little sore for a week, done. Oh, and the doctor gave me a swiss army knife as a souvenir.
posted by rouftop at 1:12 PM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I got a shirt that says "I GOT CHOPPED".
posted by Wetterschneider at 1:17 PM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

i went with general. the most bizarre part was going in nude (in a gown), and coming back with hospital-gauze-recovery briefs on. i was thinking to myself - that's a fun job: dressing an unconscious man in briefs.

otherwise, nothing to add here. couple days with the bag of frozen peas. lots of TV. my wife had been carrying birth control for the team for long enough. etc.
posted by rude.boy at 1:23 PM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

rouftop: Took no more than 30m
BobTheObtuse: Surely that's 30mm? Unless he gave you a fishing reel as well as the knife??
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:29 PM on August 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

When a friend of mine got it done he said that he didn't really feel a thing, except for some vague tugging sensation. The doctor did say to him "if you smell burning, that's your balls on fire". He actually felt a bit stupid for being worried about the procedure, since it was so easy.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:33 PM on August 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I just came here with one observation: kablorped?
posted by the duck by the oboe at 1:52 PM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

> Oh, also, wank a lot so when you get tested in three weeks we can be sure all the downstream reservoirs have been drained.

What the hell? Life is unfair. Standard waiting time before getting a sperm check seems to be 6 weeks. I got the one urologist in America who requires 3 months. No exceptions. I asked.

Still doing time.
posted by lostburner at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

So, BobTheScientist, would you say there's a vas deferens between your experience and the author's?
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2020 [13 favorites]

Okay, here's my vasectomy story: I had mine done by a no-nonsense ex-baseball player. He had done hundreds in my area before me. He was disappointed that I hadn't shaved close enough, but did the job himself. He cut a piece out of the vas -- "So it won't heal back together." -- and held it up in the forceps for me to see. "Want me to go ahead?" (= Last chance to preserve fertility.) I gave him the go-ahead. After, I had been told, you could climb off the table and play a round of golf. That was a lie. I walked around downtown a bit, then needed a lie-down. Otherwise, everything was copacetic. Friend of mine gets the procedure. A surgeon does the deed. The vas heals back together. His wife gets pregnant. He goes back and has a different doctor do the cut. That one worked. Over the years I have developed a great deal of respect for knowledgeable GPs. Not dissing surgeons here, just saying.
posted by CCBC at 3:25 PM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m not sure if anyone here is qualified to answer this but I’m going to ask anyway. I understand that it’s possible to get a vasectomy reversal if you change your mind and want to have kids again. My question is why would you need to, it involves reconnecting each tube (vas deferens) that carries sperm from a testicle into the semen. As long as semen and sperm are still being produced even if they’re no longer being combined naturally, can’t all of this be done in a lab?

Surely it would be easier to extract sperm from the testicle via needle (or whatever) and then semen, combine and voila. Wouldn’t this intervention under a microscope give a higher success rate than a reversal which seems kind of hit and miss? There’s obviously medical reasons why they don’t do this, I just don’t know what they are.
posted by Jubey at 4:24 PM on August 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

When Leah was pregnant with our third, we started talking about me getting a vasectomy.

I raised the idea with an older couple we’re friends with and – in front of Leah – the guy said: “Oh don’t do that; what if things don’t work out with you and Leah and you meet a younger girl and she wants to have kids?”

Is this the thread where we talk shit about men who won't take responsibility for the contraception responsibility in their marriage? Yeah? Great!

My brother-in-law refuses to have this trivial surgery done, despite his wife basically threatening to leave and/or murder him if she gets pregnant again. (Neither of them want more kids, she handles 90% of the childcare despite working full-time, etc. etc.) I am 100% convinced that he tells his drinking buddies some version of this story. lol what if we get divorced and I remarry someone 20 years younger and SHE wants to have kids? I dunno, dude, what if a comet smashes into your house and takes out your meticulously curated collection of taxidermied deer heads? Roughly the same odds, bro, but one of them carries real-world consequences for your immediate future.
posted by Mayor West at 5:04 PM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I did get to hear the nursing staff sort of chatting about their opinions of my Johnson while they waited for the surgeon.

And you are not going to tell us their opinion?

Much more seriously, my mom had general anesthesia for a procedure and was unsettled for weeks after that. Turns out, someone in the OR said or did unsavory things and it logged in her subconscious. Said person was fired very shortly after that, which is why she became aware and she was able to deal with the trauma.

ORs are NOT the place for anything beyond discussion of the procedure at hand.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:24 PM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

After a horrible experience with my doctor's referral, I called NYC Planned Parenthood. Ends up they had just started doing vasectomies in the Brooklyn location. Initial meeting was great, no disbelief that I did not want to have children at my age.
When I was on the table as they were starting the prep, there was a computer playing music, so they asked for my preferences. I asked if that was Spotify, they said yes, so I requested one of the Vasectomy playlists. We spent the next few minutes coming up with more songs to add to the list while the anesthesia kicked in.
Actual procedure went great, and was a quick recovery.
posted by Sophont at 6:43 PM on August 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

Because I don't think Metafilter has ever discussed this particular, ahem, seminal festival:

The King’s Birthday Vasectomy Festival: 25th Anniversary!
December 5 [2012] will be the 25th anniversary of the historic 1987 King’s Birthday Vasectomy Festival, which may have been the most biomedically intriguing King’s Birthday Vasectomy Festival of them all:

“No-Scalpel Vasectomy at the King’s Birthday Vasectomy Festival,” by Apichart Nirapathpongporn, Douglas H. Huber and John N. Krieger, The Lancet, no. 335, 1990, pp. 894- 895. The festival took place, appropriately, in Bangkok.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:38 PM on August 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

My question is why would you need to, it involves reconnecting each tube (vas deferens) that carries sperm from a testicle into the semen. As long as semen and sperm are still being produced even if they’re no longer being combined naturally, can’t all of this be done in a lab?

Sperm harvesting is routinely performed during reversal surgery as a backup and is 98% likely to succeed. The full in vitro process with harvested sperm is something you should have at least $30K budgeted for (times desired pregnancies) whereas reversal surgery runs $7K (for, uh, functionally unlimited pregnancies, I guess). One of the best reversal surgery specialists in the US has a 92% success rate if performed within 5 years of the original vasectomy operation, 90% within 10, and 84% within 15 (because most men get their vasectomy in middle age the numbers drop off pretty sharply after that), although the specific type of vasectomy you received can be a significant mitigating factor. Outside the leading specialists, success rates are usually quoted at >70%, generally for the same $7K price.

[I consulted with a reversal surgery specialist on the short list for best in the US seven years ago, and the paperwork from my consultation turned up in a recent move. All numbers are drawn from that, apologies if there are any errors.]

Recovery is supposedly somewhat painful and IIRC I was told to expect at least a few days laid up but if (like me) you got your vasectomy as a convenience during a double orchiopexy (DO NOT GOOGLE UNLESS YOU NEED TO SEE TESTICLES SPENDING SOME TIME AS FULLY ‘EXTERNAL’ GENITALIA), then it’s reportedly “not that bad.”

There was a feminist meme that circulated a couple years ago basically suggesting we should give vasectomies to all dudes by default and shift some of the burden of birth control off women. And if reversal were as straightforward, cheap and successful as the original procedure I’d be all for it, but the costs involved rule out a lot of people and due to uneven distribution of wealth across racial lines, this would actully become a serious social justice issue on a separate axis.

So yeah, the cis-male reproductive system is nothing but simplicity and bliss relatively speaking, but vasectomy reversal is not one of the simpler or more blissful niches within that domain.
posted by Ryvar at 8:02 PM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Haven’t had it done, but at a previous job I worked with two guys who took time off and had it done. One of them was one of our installers (we did drop ceilings.) This guy just always was go, go, go, our best installer and able to figure out really complicated stuff. At one job site with a complicated concave dome ceiling, he had algebraic equations to get the thing exactly right written on the unfinished drywall. He kept calling and asking for odd items, one of this, one of that, and we made several runs to the hardware store. We wouldn’t typically do that but we knew if he was asking for it, there was a reason. We got to the job site a day after that and he had built a rotating contraption that allowed him to build the ceiling exactly right in no time at all. We saw that job and we were all like “holy shit, that’s brilliant.” But as smart as he was, he just couldn’t stop the go, go, go mentality. He came back to work a couple of days after the procedure and we were like, dude, are you sure? He was. He called the office before lunch. “I gotta go home. My balls are the size of grapefruits and oh they hurt.” He was out for a few days after that...

The other was my direct supervisor. He regaled us with all the usual jokes the doctors make, etc, took some time off and everything went smooth. He joked that the guy gets snipped and then if the wife gets pregnant, then she’s caught cheating that way. Two years later... his wife got pregnant. The fighting. The accusations. Front row seat to it all, which we wished we didn’t have. Turned out that his tubes had reconnected and yes, he was indeed the father. There were already long-simmering issues in their marriage, and well, as you might expect, this kind of blew those all to the surface. They were divorced a year later.
posted by azpenguin at 9:28 PM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm 42. Haven't had kids and neither of us wants any - we prefer cats or even negative space. So I'm planning to get the snip this year.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:33 PM on August 12, 2020

Yeah, trying to extract sperm surgically enough times to get someone pregnant could be a very long, unpleasant, and certainly expensive project depending on the uterus owner's fertility. Yikes and jinkies.
posted by wellred at 6:23 AM on August 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Maybe this belongs in AskMefi but can anyone whose had this done tell me whether it makes a difference to the texture/color of your jizz? Google says it doesn’t but I’ve heard anecdotally that it does.
posted by moorooka at 6:52 AM on August 13, 2020

Self-link incoming. I got the snip a couple years ago and the actual experience was incredibly low-key; the anxiety I felt about it was largely self-inflicted. I felt and feel that dramatic, painful stories are a bit over-represented so decided to write about my own in a rare blog post.
posted by valrus at 10:39 AM on August 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I got snipped 5 years ago, great decision. Smooth process but the swelling was kind of weird, felt like I had a third ball for a few weeks.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:32 PM on August 13, 2020

A friend once told me years ago that his wife started calling him "sport model" after he got a vasectomy.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:17 PM on August 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

I prefer seedless grapes as the post-surgery label.

Two distinct memories from my vasectomy:

1) The nurse asking "you took the Valium already, right?" minutes before the procedure was about to start. I, of course, had not, as I was not give this instruction as part of my prep. My options were to take it and delay my appointment until it kicked in or go ahead without it. "You don't technically need it - it just helps prevent things from shriveling up in anticipation of the scalpel". I just wanted it done so we proceeded without. There was mild discomfort but nothing awful.

2) As a kid, my brother and I would spend hours playing with our RC cars (the ones with the pistol-grip handles) and soon learned that if we held onto the car in place on the track while revving the handle, we could indeed "burn rubber".

That very distinct smell is the exact same smell as having ones vas deferens cauterized.
posted by Twicketface at 3:49 PM on August 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

can anyone whose had this done tell me whether it makes a difference to the texture/color of your jizz?

Looks the same to me.
posted by Pouteria at 5:06 PM on August 13, 2020

I thought my spouse would get the snip once we were done having kids -- you know, to share the contraception burden and all that -- but when I brought it up when it was time to figure out how we were going to prevent the next pregnancies he declined because of his fear of persistent ball pain. Apparently that happens in 20% of cases?

I admire all of you who have made it happen.
posted by emkelley at 1:32 PM on August 18, 2020

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