What if contraception was also men’s business?

I have an uncle in my family who several decades ago, having had two beautiful children with his wife, decided to have a vasectomy. This male sterilization operation, which 7.4% of men end up regretting (Hum Reprod study, 2018), consists of cutting and blocking the vas deferens that transport sperm from the testes. A bit like a pipeline whose supply is drying up.

In those distant days (we were in the late 1980s, people watched Dallas), the thing seemed relatively incongruous. While virility and the power to seed were still closely linked, the gesture of this proud Iberian who is my uncle had something avant-garde, without taking on any overtly political connotation. “I didn’t want my wife to bear all the weight, that’s all”, he says today, without too many frills.

Do your part

Faced with this choice, the questions of those around him (mine, in this case, then in the midst of a teenage crisis) revolved around questions that were sometimes pragmatic, sometimes a bit crazy: does it hurt? Deprived of supply, does not the penis risk turning into an equivalent of a bicycle pump?

Information taken, this operation, carried out in a few minutes under local anesthesia and which becomes effective after eight to sixteen weeks, in no way hinders ejaculation, the sperm constituting only a small part of the expelled liquid. No loss of desire, nor erectile dysfunction either. ” I have no regrets. In addition, I never had to undergo a negative reaction after that “, relates today this uncle, feminist in his own way.

But, beyond this anecdote, are things that simple? In fact, until recently, someone who opted for a vasectomy (“vasectoquoi ?!”) was often considered as a testicular Jason who undertook to ratiboiser all his virile power on his own. A sort of madman committing a crime of lese majesty against the almighty phallus.

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While some physicians still attempt to discourage applicants today, the definitive nature of this surgical practice is scary. Even if there is an operation to reconstruct the vas deferens, vasovasostomy, the possibility of reversing the process is not guaranteed. Hence, in France, an incompressible reflection period of four months between the first appointment with the andrologist and the operation.

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