Every year, half a million men in the United States get a vasectomy (1). This number is expected to increase as the stigma surrounding the procedure fades. 

Understandably, most men focus on the physical effects of getting a vasectomy; ‘ how painful is a vasectomy?’ ‘ How long is the post-recovery period?’ ‘will getting a vasectomy affect my sex life?’… Few people ever stop and think of the psychological impact getting the procedure will have on them.

Common Psychological Effects of Getting a Vasectomy

Regret

This is the most common psychological impact of the vasectomy, although not the most immediate. The regret can either be:

  1. Normal regret- This occurs when a person wishes they didn’t have the vasectomy but only occasionally. When that happens, they are able to talk themselves out of regret by reminding themselves why they made the decision in the first place. This type of regret should be expected and is usually transient. 
  2. Abnormal regret- this type of regret is persistent, emotional, and intrusive. The emotions are usually strong and often overpower a person’s intellectual decision-making, causing them to seriously consider a vasectomy reversal. This type of regret ends up intruding into the person’s relationships and daily life. 

The most common regret risk factors include getting a vasectomy:

  • Before fathering a child or as a response to a recent pregnancy
  • Before you’re 31 yrs
  • Due to an unstable relationship
  • Because of a financial crisis

Vasectomy regret also happens when the vasectomy results in an adverse health effect or if it’s perceived to cause one.

Relationship Stress

Almost half of the men who go for a vasectomy do so in secret, leaving their partners in the dark. This causes relationship strains when the partner wants to have children later on but can’t or when the man finally reveals that they had the procedure done without their partner’s knowledge.

Relationship strains also occur when the man feels as though he was pushed into the procedure unwillingly. Before getting a vasectomy, it’s advisable to discuss your decision with your partner and if necessary in the presence of a counselor. 

Some Men Report High Levels Of Sexual Satisfaction

Now that they are not worried about getting their partners pregnant, some men report enjoying sex more. 

It is however important to note that vasectomies are not effective right away. Your semen will still contain sperm for around 200 ejaculations so you should use alternate birth control methods until you get an all-clear from the urologist.

All You Need To Know About Vasectomy and Mood Swings

Having a vasectomy affects you both physically and psychologically. This is why it’s important to have a physical consultation with your urologist so that they can walk you through the entire procedure and what you should expect. 

Links To Sources Used

  1. Why Don’t More American Men Get Vasectomies? – https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/28/parenting/why-dont-more-american-men-get-vasectomies.html