One week from right now my vasectomy will be complete. Since publicly announcing my decision to sterilize myself about a month ago I have received a lot of (unsolicited) thoughts on my decision. Many of them were positive and rooted in curiosity, while some were fairly judgmental. Given all the discussions and debates I decided to post my thoughts on this decision. If anyone has any questions or thoughts I welcome them, as long as you aren’t an asshole about it.
There seems to be an expectation that everyone should want and have children. This feeling is more prevalent towards women than men, but it still exists in one form or another. I don’t think everyone should have children. I believe the decision to raise a child may be the most important decisions that a person can make and it should not be entered into lightly. The bare minimum is financial stability, knowledge of how to raise a child in the modern world, and an enthusiastic desire to raise a child.
Many people make decision to reproduce selfishly, they have a kid because “they always wanted one” not because they think they are capable of raising a child well. It isn’t just intuitive and research on the subject is changing regularly. Things that were considered the norm like spanking are being researched and the results are not supportive of these practices. Parents quite literally have (often with the best intentions) lead their children to suicide. It is a life in your hand, not a hobby or friend. And it is a life that will grow up in a way that you might not want, I am certainly NOTHING like my mother would have imagined or planned. The expectations she had for me has created a lot of tension and conflict. Quite frankly, your child could be an asshole.
For me, I am not financially stable enough, knowledgeable, and I have no interest in raising a child. But of course, there is always Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). I hear time and time again that raising a child is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. That may very well be true, but that doesn’t mean it is for everyone. I don’t have FOMO as long as I feel like I am living my life the way I want. Nobody can do everything. When I biked across the country I met people who said “Man, I would love to do that but I can’t because I have kids” or “That’s awesome, if only I had done that when I was younger before I got married and settled down. Now it just isn’t possible”. I want to do things like bike around the world, live in a tiny house on a farm, sail around the world, skydive on every continent, and a thousand other things. A child just doesn’t fit into that equation. In order to raise a child well I would likely need to work at a job I would hate, put down roots in a single place, put my dreams and education on hold, and make that child my priority. Really though, that is all irrelevant because there is only one thing I need to say to justify my actions, “it is my body and it is what I want to do”.
Besides, getting a vasectomy doesn’t preclude me from being a father, just a DNA donor, but it does allows me greater control of when/if I am a father, and allows for a more pleasurable experience with my partner in the meantime. There may be a chance that my replica could be a great person (or they might be a shitbag), but as my partner pointed out, there is a chance that the person that cures cancer or discovers faster than light travel or solves our energy issues or whatever is in an adoption center somewhere and just needs a stable home to reach their potential. My DNA is not special for our species, nobody’s is. With over 300,000 children in the foster system in the US there are plenty of children that I can be a father to if I decide to do that. In fact, I think it is ethically superior to adopt instead of bringing a new child into the world. Reproducing yourself instead of adopting is a selfish act. If every couple who had a planned pregnancy decided to adopt instead there would be no children without a stable home in the US within 2 months. Yes, I realize adoption is more complicated than allowing sperm to be squirted into an ovary but maybe taking responsibility for another person should be a complicated process.
Anyway, what it comes down to is this is the right decision for me at this time. I have health insurance that is helping me out and a flexible workplace that is providing time off and financial assistance for the operation. I won’t have those things after May, so it just makes sense to me.