From local anaesthetic to prescribed pants – what it's like to get a vasectomy

‘I’m going to do it.’

It’s September 2019. My daughter – my second child – is a few weeks old, and I’m telling my wife, that I’m going to get a vasectomy.

We both wanted two kids, we’d talked about it before and now I was going to be a VERY BRAVE BOY and get it done.

Why this option? Mainly because after years of altering her body chemistry with the pill, and two pregnancies, maybe it was time for me to take the lead on this one.

But then a few things got in the way. We moved back to our hometown of Cardiff. We had to register with a new GP. Oh, and there was a pandemic. So with all of that – getting the snip got put on the back burner.

Cut to January 2021. I’d just landed my first ever acting role in the Sky drama starring Sir Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson, and for some reason I thought: ‘Vasectomy! That man, I mean – I should get a vasectomy!’

I called my doctor’s surgery at 8am. At 8.24am I was told there were no appointments, and I said, delightedly: ‘No, I need no appointment! I am calling because I want a vasectomy!’

I said it triumphantly as though I would be applauded down the phone for my bravery – ‘What a man! A true hero! We should clap for you on Thursday nights!’

That didn’t happen, but they said they’d send me a letter. I’d have to read it and then book a vasectomy in.

The letter arrived, I read it and then IGNORED IT FOR SEVEN MONTHS.

Why? Well, I’d been telling myself I was too busy – ‘I can’t have it done, not when Sir Kenneth needs my acting talents!’ (We had one scene together where I said nothing).

But in truth, I’d been putting it off because I was scared.

I think I had been working out whether I genuinely wanted one. I’d blame not having booked my vasectomy on work or poor timing but really, it was my brain ticking over to see if I really wanted to do it.

I still don’t know what I was really afraid of. The pain, maybe? But what was the pain going to be like? I’d been kicked in the nuts with a football before (an accident, not a kink), so what’s the difference?

And then, one day, it just clicked. Yes, I did want one, it made sense; it was the best decision for myself, my wife and our family, and this letter, sitting on my desk, wasn’t something to be afraid of.

So, almost on a whim, I rang the GP and was told that I’d have a phone-consultation with a doctor within a few weeks.

When the call came, my doctor said lots of things about the procedure, with terms such as ‘incision’, which I stopped paying attention to – you don’t need to know how the sausage gets made.

But one thing I do remember is that he said the sausage had to be completely shaved beforehand – weird the things you focus on, eh?

I was told that I’d have to wear two pairs of small Y-fronts after the op, to hold everything in place. I asked the doctor if these were ‘prescription pants’, and he said ‘no, you have to buy them’.

And so there I was, at 9am waiting outside TK Maxx as per the doctor’s orders. The doors opened, I said ‘Hello where are the pants?’, bought two pairs of extra-small-Y-fronts, paid for them and immediately left.

The staff at the store must have thought ‘this guy has 100% s**t himself and he’s planning to do it again’.

I took these pants, and my newly shaved downstairs, to my GP’s surgery for the procedure.

Vasectomies are done with local anaesthetic, so you’re awake throughout the ordeal – I chatted to my doctor when he was doing it, mainly to distract myself.

I asked him how many more vasectomies he had done before me that day and he said four – FIVE IN A DAY. That’s 10 TESTICLES A DAY.

He then made a tiny cut in my ball sack, literally half an inch in size. He then went inside and at that point I stopped talking to him.

To fill the silence, he put on some music – panpipe versions of pop songs – and one of them was In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins. All I could think was: ‘There’s a drum solo in this, hope he doesn’t get too into it’.

Next, he did what I assumed was solder it shut. The whole thing lasted 20 minutes – we didn’t even have time to go into the full Genesis back catalogue.

I was given some padding and told to pop on my newly purchased small pants. After five minutes, I waddled outside to where my wife was waiting to pick me up in the car.

I did as I was told by the doctor and spent the next 48 hours in bed, watching films and trying not to feel too guilty about hearing my kids being solo-parented downstairs. I was being a very brave boy.

What’s life like now? Exactly the same as it was before. I suppose there is a slight peace of mind knowing that we won’t have another child, but really? I don’t really think about it much.

That said – I’m glad I had that period of reflection. If I’d have rushed into it, perhaps there would’ve been regrets.

Two friends have also had vasectomies done in the past year. I know a few more who will in the next 12 months. And it’s not that I’m trying to convince them to do so, or that I get commission when TK Maxx sells small Y-fronts (although, if you’re reading Mr. Maxx, get in touch).

It’s more that, to me, it’s never felt like the wrong decision. Preventing pregnancy has always been, societally, down to the woman. So it’s nice to do something that redresses that balance, at least in a small way. (WAITS FOR APPLAUSE)

The whole process was far easier, quicker and less painful than I’d imagined – it’s much less of a big deal than most people think.

During that initial phone consultation, my doctor said: ‘Just so you know, it’s not going to change you as a man.’ The fact he had to say that took me aback.

There must be countless men going into this decision worried that it’ll affect their masculinity, their sex drive, their identity as a man.

So if there are any blokes reading this, consider getting one done – if it’s right for you, do it. Being able to procreate doesn’t define you as a man.

So snip snip, lads – get your prescription pants and go for it. You’re a very brave boy.

Robin Morgan is on tour with ‘Snip Snip, B*tch’. For ticket details, go to his website here.

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