Last year, I became
castrated impotentsterile. That is, I had a vasectomy. While it's actually a very common procedure (nearly 500,000 are performed every year in the US), it raises eyebrows - and a lot of questions.
I know other men, my brother included, who've opted for a vasectomy. As with women who decide to terminate, permanently, their ability to conceive, it is not done without considerable insight and social awareness.
Although this was a very personal decision for me, it was also a choice I made out of larger societal, political, and environmental motivations. I consider the environmental ones paramount. In an economic system that demands infinite growth with finite resources, not doubling my own consumption is one small stone in a big river.
The medical procedure is uncomplicated. After few days of discomfort, he is no longer able to impregnate his partners.
For men, vasectomies are simple. There are almost no side effects and no long-term impacts; it's a quick, low-cost, outpatient procedure. Having decided that I want to take an active role in birth control, a vasectomy is fair, easy, and it confronts my privilege on this issue.
It is profound way of taking responsibility and relieves women of the burden of birth control.
All the other common birth control methods have one aspect in common: They place the onus on women. Not only does our society expect women to deal with the logistics of birth control, but these methods also have severe physiological drawbacks, from roller-coaster hormonal changes to intensifying menstruation cycles to weight and skin changes. Although these methods have come a long way in a few decades, they still burden women and their bodies. Is it any coincidence that in a male-dominated society, the medical establishment has thus far focused on birth control methods that leave the burden solely on women?
This man and others who chose vasectomies are heroes in my book!
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