I Am The Everygirl

Why My Husband Got a Vasectomy After We Fostered Three Young Kids

written by ALYSSA DAVIS
husband got a vasectomy"
husband got a vasectomy
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Six months after the most challenging experience of our marriage, my husband reminded me that he had an upcoming appointment with his doctor. Because he’s a Type I diabetic with various additional health conditions, we usually keep a running list of topics that need to be addressed during his biannual exams—and this time, there had been a significant shift in our reality that put a new item of discussion on the list: a vasectomy.

How we finally decided on a child-free life

Nine months earlier, our life had taken a completely unexpected turn. At 29 and 27 years old, respectively, with no children of our own, my husband and I became temporary legal guardians of three young family members. Through no fault of their own, these little kids had racked up more trauma in their short lives than most adults experience in an entire lifetime—so, in addition to simply adjusting to the lifestyle shift from child-free to housing a small brood, we had to navigate the many nuances of the children’s behaviors that were rooted in their emotional trauma.

The three months during which the kids were under our care were the most strenuous months of our relationship, and though our intentions were pure, the situation was one we were ill-equipped to handle. After the children were transitioned out of our home, it took a few months for my husband and I to unpack and heal from our own trauma from the experience.

Prior to our admittedly extreme foray into parenthood, my husband had already been on the fence about starting a family. He had always feared his Type I diabetes would be passed on to any children we might have, and that was reason enough for him to want to forgo fatherhood. Health conditions aside, he also never felt an overwhelming paternal urge. While he likes kids, he doesn’t necessarily feel an innate desire to have his own.

Though I had always thought of myself becoming a mom one day, I was in my early 20s when I began wondering if that vision was simply one planted in my mind’s eye due to society’s indoctrinated timeline of a productive and successful life: do well in grade school, go to college, start a career, get married, have babies, and so on. The idea of having kids was a nice one, but I knew there was a staggering difference between hypothetically having children and actually raising them.

Though I had always thought of myself becoming a mom one day, I was in my early 20s when I began wondering if that vision was simply due to society’s indoctrinated timeline of a productive and successful life…

After my husband and I married, people, of course, began asking when we were going to have kids. We’d respond with some variation of “Not right now, but maybe in two to three years”—and we meant it at the time. But with every year that passed, that two to three year timeline remained the same as we repeatedly delayed parenthood. Many people gave us the biological clock lecture, reminding us of the timeline society pedals as acceptable for birthing babies. But we simply never felt ready—and as much as I’ve been told you aren’t ever ready, neither my husband nor I ever felt profound excitement or serenity about the possibility of becoming parents.

In addition to wanting to experience more of life before parenthood, not feeling financially secure enough to support children, and struggling to figure out how kids would happily fit into our lifestyle, we were also extremely conflicted about bringing children into today’s world. With deeply concerning problems, including the disastrous effects of climate change, basic human rights being revoked from minority groups, and a turbulent economy with crushing inflation, my husband and I felt a sense of moral guilt about bringing young humans into the world to deal with what currently looks to be a catastrophe in the making.

So when we got a preview of what the daily ins and outs of parenthood would look like while fostering, we both experienced a sense of confirmation that the conventional choice wasn’t for us. Complications from our young family members’ lives aside, my husband and I were uncontented by the chaotic lifestyle that comes with caring for kids. We sorely missed the freedom and flexibility of being child-free, and even in the sweet and rewarding moments of fostering, we both found solace in the situation being temporary. Many judge this as “selfishness,” but to me, recognizing parenthood isn’t an interest or strength is something that requires a great deal of humility—especially given the way our society largely determines a woman’s worth based on her willingness and ability to reproduce.

While the journey of parenthood is a beautiful, wonderful, fulfilling part of life for many people, my husband and I are happier to play a supporting role in the lives of kids close to us—the stereotypical “cool” uncle and auntie, if you will. Once we digested, talked through, and accepted this, we began to discuss the possibility of a vasectomy.

…we simply never felt ready—and as much as I’ve been told you aren’t ever ready, neither my husband nor I ever felt profound excitement or serenity about the possibility of becoming parents.

The vasectomy versus female birth control conversation

A few months before the children moved in with us, I had stopped taking birth control—not because we wanted to try to get pregnant, but because I didn’t want to be on it any longer. I had been taking some variation of the pill or using the NuvaRing since I was 16, and I felt a calling to allow my body to regulate itself without the many negative side effects of hormonal birth control. At that point, we knew pregnancy was a risk but were of the “We’re not trying, but whatever happens, happens” mindset. This, of course, shifted after our fostering experience to a more urgent need to ensure pregnancy was not a possibility, and as I didn’t want to be on birth control anymore, my husband volunteered for a vasectomy.

Our society—particularly men—almost exclusively places the onus on women to bear the responsibility of birth control, so having my husband hear me and respect the fact that I no longer wanted to endure the effects of hormonal contraceptives felt extraordinarily validating and relieving. Because of society’s patriarchal focus, a vasectomy is a choice many men scoff at, belittling women for not sticking to the “easier,” more traditional options like the pill, IUDs, shots, and so on, without any regard for the time, pain, and side effects associated with women’s birth control methods—so having my husband pretty casually suggest we opt for a vasectomy instead felt a little surreal. He had zero hesitation or irritation with my desire to be free of birth control, and I will always feel an overwhelming amount of love, admiration, and appreciation toward him for the compromise he so easily floated.


After my husband assured me he was serious about undergoing a vasectomy, we spent several months talking about potentially moving forward with the surgery. I regularly asked if he was 100 percent sure about the decision, expressing my anxiety that he might regret it and resent me in the future, but his confidence and comfort with the major choice never wavered. So when that fateful six-month doctor’s appointment came around, we decided that we would take the first step of discussing the procedure and course of action with his general physician.

Having “the talk” with doctors and loved ones

Throughout the process, both of us felt a bit nervous that we would be lectured or judged by the team of medical professionals we needed to speak with, particularly because we didn’t yet have children and a vasectomy would eliminate any chance of offspring. I was quite anxious going into the consultation appointment, especially considering our state’s conservative-leaning ideologies—I was fearful that our team of doctors would spend more time trying to talk us out of a vasectomy than giving us unbiased information on the procedure. I was pleasantly surprised that our decision was respected and unchallenged across the board, with my husband’s general physician and the team of urologists giving us only factual information—no unsolicited opinions or incessant questioning to plant seeds of doubt in our decision.

During his appointment with his general physician, we were given top-level information about the anatomical effects of a vasectomy and what to expect from the procedure, and then we were given the option to move forward with a urology consultation if we were comfortable with the details provided to us. As my husband and I both felt at ease with the information his general physician had shared, we decided to schedule the preliminary vasectomy appointment. This entailed more in-depth information shared by the urologist, particularly about the procedure itself, as well as the recovery and post-op steps of ensuring the vasectomy was successful.

After our consultation with the urology office, we knew we were ready to move forward with scheduling the vasectomy. Though we both felt the typical apprehension of taking such a major step, we also felt an overwhelming sense of relief, and to be honest, excitement about the possibilities in store for our future knowing children would never be part of the equation.


In addition to being apprehensive about the doctors’ opinions and possible judgments, my husband and I were, of course, anxious about telling our loved ones we were opting for a vasectomy. Because we didn’t want outside noise to affect our decision, we waited to bring it up until after we had gone to the preliminary appointments. After we set a date for the procedure, we told select friends and family that we had decided to schedule a vasectomy—and every single person was overwhelmingly understanding and supportive.

Telling friends was a bit easier than broaching the conversation with family members because our choice wasn’t depriving them of a familial relationship with a potential child of ours, say in the way our decision would mean our parents wouldn’t receive grandchildren from us. But even sharing our reasoning for wanting a vasectomy with our parents felt like a weight being lifted off our shoulders. Each family member we told reassured us that it’s our life and we shouldn’t bring children into the world if we don’t genuinely feel connected to the purpose of parenthood. We weren’t guilt-tripped, questioned, or made to feel like a disappointment, and both my husband and I feel extraordinarily lucky to be met with an overwhelmingly positive response to our choice to remain child-free.

Looking into our child-free future

Within an hour, my husband and I walked into the urology office for the outpatient procedure, sat together in the surgical room as he underwent the vasectomy, and exited the building as a permanently child-free couple. As silly as it sounds, we both felt a giddy sensation similar to being slightly buzzed after indulging in a few alcoholic beverages. There was no regret, uncertainty, or devastation, only bubbly anticipation for the expansive possibilities in our future.

… recognizing parenthood isn’t an interest or strength is something that requires a great deal of humility—especially given the way our society largely determines a woman’s worth based on her willingness and ability to reproduce.

In the weeks that followed, that ecstasy only grew, with huge luxuries like travel and little joys like sleeping in available to us not just today, but every day for the rest of our lives. Instead of saving for sports clubs, music lessons, and college funds, we can allocate that money toward overseas trips, real estate, and experiences like concerts and road trips. We also don’t take for granted the ability to decide at the last minute that we want to go out to eat or be able to give our pets our full attention or the fact that we can spend an entire day lounging on the couch with a good book and zero interruptions.

Now nearly four months post-op, my husband and I feel more confident and secure than ever about choosing a vasectomy as our form of birth control. Our continued sense of relief and excitement about where child-free life will take us in the coming decades has served as sound confirmation that we made the right choice for us—and at the end of the day, making the right family planning decision for your particular situation is all that matters.