This morning I had my consultation to sign up for a vasectomy. The urologist emphasized, at least ten times, that I am very young and may regret this decision. Everyone along this entire process, from the GP, to Christian friends, to even pastor friends have cautioned me against this. While I can understand where they are coming from, part of the logic and part of the concern is absurd to me – no offense.
I made this decision before I ever started dating my fiancee. In fact, before I ever met her. Pretty much for all of the reasons explicated in this post. One of my preconditions for getting married is that my spouse must be okay with us not having children from our own sperm/eggs. In other words, the only way I am okay with having children is adopting. I made the commitment to myself before graduating high school I would not marry someone who wanted their “own” kids. While I made this decision before fully committing to following Christ, my commitment to Christ eventually gave me a more mature reasoning for this decision. More detailed theological/philosophical reasons will be outlined below after more biographical explanation.
There were a couple years of my life where I seriously considered trying to join a monastic community and taking up a vow of chastity. This influenced my belief that there are other ways of serving the world than having children. For example, viewing one’s neighborhood or one’s parish as one’s “child” to care for.
The power of death and the curse of time have inflicted me with various health issues. For example, there is a good chance I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This leads to many of the symptoms outlined in the link provided. I also have been diagnosed with Aspergers, although my counselor suggested that I more than likely actually have a Sensory Processing Disorder, as I have very few of the social symptoms related to Aspergers – primarily just the sensory ones. Either way, this can be both physically and mentally overwhelming. I cannot imagine what it would be like trying to A) Take care of a child from conception to adulthood or B) Bringing a child into the world with these kinds of genes. Thus, my health has also played into my disdain for having my “own” children.
The world is overpopulated. There are too many people to fit on this planet, and many of those people live in areas that aren’t as luxurious as the place I was lucky enough to be born into. The same can be said of many of the voices who badger me with, “whyyyy the vasectomy? Won’t you regret it?” They come from an extremely entitled culture and economic environment in which they don’t have to fit 10 people to a small apartment, like they do in many Asian countries. They can’t possibly fathom the issues of overpopulation, because, they don’t realize they are experiencing its ripple effects (even though it directly impacts various issues of their physical health and economic stability). They simply don’t understand that if the human race doesn’t learn how to have some self-discipline, we’re going to find ourselves in quite a squeeze (literally).
To give you an idea of the rate that humanity has been breeding itself like rabbits, it took approximately until the year 1830AD for the global population to reach 1 billion. 100 years later, the population was 3 billion. 60 years after that, the population was 6 billion. We are currently at 7 billion. It is estimated that it will only take 13 years for us to make it to 8 billion.
This is destroying the global economy, environment, and humanity itself. I reiterate – if we don’t slow down, we’re killing ourselves. Having your “own” child doesn’t only affect you and your family. To assume so denies the interdependency of creation, and illuminates a narcissistic, selfish, and entitled worldview. For more information about overpopulation, please follow the links below.
I especially recommend this link.
21,000 people die everyday from hunger/starvation related causes.
How selfish must I be to want to endanger the future of humankind, as well as those currently alive who are starving for the sake of my as-of-yet-unborn entitled child?
Birth control pills have many negative affects on women, condoms simply aren’t reliable, and Plan B is way too expensive (and also not reliable long term). Why is it that the “appropriate” Christian contraceptive methods all involve affecting the woman hormonally, and not the man? Why must we mess with the egg, and not the sperm? Especially with these pills that can negatively harm the woman, whereas a vasectomy, while painful for a week (and sometimes causing “blue balls” for a couple years) has an extremely high success rate with an extremely low rate of negative outcomes for the man, even though vasectomies can be reversed, albeit at out of pocket cost for the man. Yet, we push female birth control. We can screw with their hormones long term, but we can’t safely snip the vas deferens of a man.
Which leads us to the rabbit trail of abortion.
I’m “pro-life,” don’t get me wrong. Well, maybe. Depends what you mean by that. Anyway, I think it’s absolutely absurd to force women to carry fetuses to term (ie: outlawing abortion) but not mandate vasectomies. It requires sperm to fertilize an egg, and therefore, it requires sperm to lead to a fetus. In a world that is extremely overpopulated, it would make far more sense to require vasectomies for men than to force women to give birth to a child. Outlawing abortion is simply putting a band-aid on a symptom and not treating the root cause. But that’s not the point, as it is merely trite rhetoric. The point is, instead of arguing back and forth about the morality of abortions, which puts the moral blame on women (masculine sexism anyone?), why not talk about the morality of sterilizing a generation of men – not eternal sterilization (that would wipe out the human race, obviously), but only for a time? Why not require vasectomies for men, especially men with a criminal background? Why not force adoption on families who can afford it and stop with this arbitrary “I want children from my own bloodline” when we are all human and come from the same bloodline.
If you think forcing vasectomies is wrong, despite the reasons outlined, another option would be to pay for the storage of multiple specimen of a man’s sperm collected before the vasectomy, so as to not totally exclude the potential to fertilize his partner’s egg(s).
Insurance companies could also start paying for reversals. You might say “well, vasectomy reversals are only successful a fraction of the time!” To that I say, carrying out a pregnancy with zero complications is only successful a fraction of the time. In fact, abortion sometimes saves the life of the mother (whereas there was a greater chance that both the baby and the mother would have died during childbirth).
Don’t get me wrong – I think I’m against any legislation that makes abortion illegal, as well as legislation that forces vasectomies on men (although, I’m more inclined to discuss the criminal vasectomy idea, although only due to issues of overpopulation). This exists primarily to spur on discussion and add nuance.
We can’t forget, though, that despite all of our legislative bantering back and forth, that every event is contextual. Every decision depends on a variety of factors, and whether we outlaw this or outlaw that, there will still be outliers to consider. We cannot legislate morality or changes of heart.
In America, African American children up for adoption are much less likely to be adopted than Caucasian or Hispanic, according to these two sources. How entitled do I have to feel to disregard the pre-existent children that get avoided during the adoption process because of their race, simply so I can have my “own” kids with skin pigment akin to my own?
“Christians are supposed to have kids. Why aren’t you having kids?”
Have you read 1 Corinthians 7:8? In fact, have you read the Gospels? You do realize that the one who you’re called to emulate (ie: Jesus) didn’t have kids…right?
“God said “be fruitful and multiply!”
We’ve been doing pretty good in the “fruitful” department lately. Did you miss the discussion on overpopulation? I think it’s time for us to stop being fruitful for awhile…
“Don’t you want to carry on your bloodline?”
Yes. That’s precisely why I don’t want my own biological children. I care so much about my bloodline (which by extension, if you’re a human being reading this, is your bloodline), that I don’t want to bring another child into this overpopulated world. That wouldn’t be loving to anyone involved. If I really wanted to “carry on my bloodline,” I’d go adopt a pre-existent starving orphan. Or become a teacher. Or dedicate my life in some other way to serving people who already exist in this world and aren’t having their needs met.
Urologist: “You know if you have this procedure, it will probably prevent you from ever getting re-married. Women love having fertile men. They want kids.”
If there exists a woman who wants her own biological children, there is no sense in me worrying about her rejection of me, as she and I would not fit together ethically or morally. Do not misunderstand me, I am not (trying to) place value judgments on people who want their “own” biological children – merely following my own conscience while trying to work out my own faith in the one we call the Christ. The point, though, is that I wouldn’t want to spend my life with a woman who disagrees with me on this point. If a woman (or anyone) would try to make me compromise this point, I feel she is trying to compromise my personal faith in Christ which leads me to this conclusion. Therefore, we would have larger issues than this.
For me, my vasectomy is sacramental and worshipful. It is, I hope, refusing to give in to the arbitrary unspoken cultural lies that “blood” children are more important than orphans who need cared for.
It is refusing, I hope, to give into the lie that men’s bodies and choices are more important than women’s.
It is refusing to add to the narcissistic, non-sacrificial, and un-disciplined mess we know as overpopulation.
It is a criticism of the Church’s response to these issues – a concrete action calling the Church to not only discuss these matters, but to also act on them.
It is a refusal to accept the power of death as the final authority over my life.