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Is it Safe to Have a Vasectomy or to Get Your Tubes Tied?

Is it Safe to Have a Vasectomy or to Get Your Tubes Tied

There’s been sort of a theme going on around here this week. (After this I’ll move on, promise.) It started with Tuesday’s post, Dangers of the Birth Control Pill, then yesterday’s was, Warning: Hang on to your Uterus, and today I want to explore whether or not it’s really safe to have a vasectomy or get your tubes tied. Even as much as I question everything, until this week I hadn’t questioned vasectomies or tubal ligations, they’re just snips, right? Thankfully Kent was against those all along, and by the time we were at the stage to think about such things, I was long past considering it, since we’re Catholic. But for many, these procedures are just “what you do” when you know you’re “done having kids”. It’s the simple, safe, chemical-free way to go…or so we all thought.

In the comments at the post, “Dangers of the Birth Control Pill“, a reader named Sharon replied to another commenter who questioned the safety of tubal ligations:

Having your tubes tied can cause serious hormonal disruptions in your body. It will increase fibroids, cause an enlarged uterus, heavy monthly bleeding, and the need for a hysterectomy. I did not know this before it was done. If I had known we would not have decided to do this.”

Had you heard this before?

I’m shocked that this is the first I’ve heard about the possible connections between getting your tubes tied and fibroids, heavy monthly bleeding, and the need for a hysterectomy! The more I thought about it, and about the increase in the number of women with heavy bleeding issues these days (don’t we all know someone?), and the number of hysterectomies on the rise, it makes sense. (Although I absolutely believe that heavy bleeding can also be connected to nutrition, see yesterday’s hysterectomy post for more links about that.) So I did some more digging…

Long term complications of tubal ligations:

A longitudinal study of over 8,000 women five years after their tubal ligations found 49% of them suffered heavy periods and 35% reported an increase of severe menstrual cramping.14 The risk of cervical cancer among a study of 489 post-tubal women was 3.5 times the normal rate.15

There is an increased incidence of women with tubal ligations undergoing subsequent hysterectomy due to severe menstrual problems — 18.7% among one group of 374 patients.20 In a study of long-term risk, women aged 20 to 29 years who had tubal ligations were found to be 3.4 times as likely to have a subsequent hysterectomy.21 (Source — and here is another good source for more info.)

It’s not just sterilization of women that’s dangerous — here are the long term complications after vasectomies:

Although the final verdict on the health risks of vasectomy is not in, suspicions are rising that the long-term effects on a man’s immunological system can pose serious health problems. Criticism is mounting within the medical community about the uncritical way in which vasectomy has been declared medically safe. Between 10% and 15% of adult men in the U.S. have been vasectomized3 and yet, as Dr. H. J. Roberts has written, “I know of no other operation performed on humans that induces responses to such a degree by the immune system.”4 Source (Go on to read more at that link about how vasectomies can lead to auto-immune diseases!)

More thoughts come to mind:

1. This is the only procedure I know of where we have organs in our body that work just as God intended them to, and we purposefully have the surgeon go in and break it. How natural is that?

2. I can think of at least 3 guys we know who have had vasectomies with serious short term complications afterward, including severe swelling and pain that kept them down for several days. Kent and I agree that NFP is best for many reasons, but for Kent, especially this reason!

3. Even with my non-Catholic friends, every single one of them who have had this done ended up telling me later that they regretted it. Often it was a passing regret, but for many it becomes a lifelong source of sorrow.

4. It used to be tempting to go have this done and then not have to worry about watching my fertility signs every month. (Not to mention the difficult phase 2 when we have to abstain, which of course is the time when we most want to be together due to the hormones working just as they’re supposed to!) But learning all of this took care of that temptation.

Have you already had a vasectomy or tubal ligation?

Same disclaimer as yesterday in the hysterectomy postThis post is not a judgment on your decision. Just be aware of this information and share it with others so they can be informed about all the risks before moving forward. Do not use this information to beat yourself up over what you didn’t know until now!

What do you think? And if you’ve had these procedures done, did you know any of this beforehand? Have you experienced any of these complications?



  1. Oy, every time I open my browser I’m bombarded with all the ways I’m dying. As much as I try to do the right thing, I’ve had nearly 40 years of plenty of wrong doing. Yep, I’ve had a tubal. Yep, I had gastric bypass. Yep, I bath in chlorinated water. Yep, yep, yep, yep. Sorry, not bashing your post. But at this point I just have to chose my battles and move on. Part of that is not living in constant fear of dying. Because you know what? We started dying the moment we were born. I want to live a more carefree than daily constant worrying. I do my best with what I have available.

    • I didn’t answer you question though. I had the tubal more than 11 years ago with my last c-section. Never had an apparent problem with it. I also had a very serious gallbladder removal 18 years ago. So I’ve put my body through more than one alteration. It happens and all I can do is what I feel best for my body today.

      • I totally relate. And I also pick the issues I want to focus on. For instance, I can’t even get my head around the chlorinated water issue. I had a shower head with a filter, but I never switched the filter.

        Oh, and I have had 5 root canals. Usually, I just delete any negative stuff about root canals because I hear having teeth pulled is just as bad, and well, I’m not having 5 teeth pulled.

        This information is scary and sometimes frustrating, but I am glad to have it even if I ignore some of it.

    • I totally know how overwhelming it can be to learn all this stuff. And you’re right–we will all die eventually and we should definitely not let worry consume us. But I would definitely prefer to have a long life over a long death in a hospital bed. So you’re right–we do the best we can with what we have. But I also have to encourage myself to do just a little bit better in certain areas so I don’t fall into apathy or complacency or let that become an excuse for living like the rest of the world.
      Keep rocking it out! 😉

  2. Tara, We’ve all done crap to our bodies in previous years, that was bad for us. We didn’t know any better or didn’t have control. We can only move forward and hope that the knowledge that we now have, from prior experiences, will give us improved ways of taking care of ourselves/our bodies! Peace!

    • I totally agree. That’s why I added that disclaimer in the post. Nobody has lived the ideal life, well almost nobody, and even for those that have, there are still no guarantees! We’ll just use what we learn to do the best we can today & moving forward.

      Sorry for making you feel frustrated by the way, but maybe it will help someone to avoid having the procedure done, you know?


  3. I’ve read some of this research before, and have discouraged some people I know from getting these procedures done. Of course, it is a very individual decision as to what is best for each couple.

    For us, God revealed to my husband and me 21 years ago that He wanted us to Trust Him for our family size, let Him be our Birth Controller. (and NO, we are not Catholic!) So, we threw out all contraceptives, including NFP, and the rest, as they say, is history! We have a wonderful family of ten children! Not what I originally would have imagined for myself, but God is so much wiser and He knows what we can handle. Of course, it was Stretching along the way, but I wouldn’t go back and do it differently!!

    I did have a hysterectomy in 2005 because of severely prolapsed uterus and pelvic floor. (lots of BIG babies!!) I still have my ovaries, and have not had any problems thus far.

  4. If DH was able to reproduce he would definitely be getting a vasectomy. I’m sorry, but for us having children would be worse than any potential risk of the V. Go ahead and flame away. As Tara pointed out, there is no way to avoid all the potential health risks of EVERYTHING.

    • I agree, my husband is getting a vasectomy next month. We are so done with kids, 2 is ENOUGH. To us the risk of getting pregnant again far outweighs the risk of the procedure. I see it as I’ll die when it’s my time to die, I’m not going to avoid all the risks in life because of it.

      • A former co-worker of mine told me about her and her husband’s consult w/ the doc prior to making their decision about a vasectomy. One screening question he asked was, “if something were to happen to one or both of your children, would you want to be able to have more children?” I’m sorry to say – although not surprised – that my DH’s ‘physician’ asked no such questions, in fact, the consult happened only moments before the procedure. Of course, I’m coming from a completely different angle, I was vehemently opposed to the procedure.

        It’s isn’t all about health.

  5. I do think that people need to know all the risks and benefits of any procedure, the above procedures included. However, for some people, surgical sterilization is the best option. My brother had a vasectomy after he and his wife found out that their youngest daugther had cystic fibrosis. Anyone who has ever seen a child go through this understands why they would never want to potentially have any more children with this genetic disease. My brother had absolutely no complications and has never regretted his decision. My neice is now 17 years old and is alive today thanks to organ donation…but that is another discussion about an entirely different type of surgery.

  6. I had a c-section with my first child because the bag broke and it was discovered that the baby was no longer head down. The politics had changed in the hospital and VBAC was no longer allowed. For my 3rd c-section, I decided to get a tubal ligation. It has been almost 7 years and everything is fine. I occasionally have heavy periods but I’m 44, and I don’t know what to expect. I’m going to try the ACV thing next time (mentioned on hysterectomy comments from yesterday). I think diet makes a difference. Perhaps there’s something I’m doing which makes a difference, like drinking black tea.

  7. Interesting post… I wonder how a tubal ligation (which I had after my fourth child) impacts menopause. Though I didn’t have any trouble with heavy bleeding or cramping, I do have fibroids. On the manly side, my husband (second marriage) who had a vasectomy (after his fourth child) seems like he’s always getting sick. Germs love him. So, there it is…two more for the statistics.

    • I’ll tell you how I believe it has affected MY menopause, though every woman is different. I had a tubal after my fourth child. I, too, have fibroid cysts in my uterus, but otherwise have had no serious problem there. Menopause came for me at 52, and with it, terrible hot flashes that have persisted for ten years. They’re finally beginning to subside, but for a while, they were so bad, they affected my sleep and my ability to function. I spent a short while on Ambient and almost three years on HRT (hormone therapy) before weaning myself off and trying more natural remedies for the flushing. Did the tubal contribute to the severity of my symptoms? Who knows? There’s no way to prove one way or another. But, since I cleaned up my diet and got rid of sugar and grains, my hormones have calmed down…or maybe the post-menopausal symptoms have just run their course. That’s the thing about the body. There are so many interconnected systems, it’s practically impossible to know for sure what’s causing what.

      My advice would be, don’t ever allow a surgeon to cut on your body except in life-threatening situations. Elective surgery is insane. Our body is a masterpiece of design and complexity and our medical doctors, as knowledgeable as they are, haven’t scratched the surface of how they work. Drugs and surgery always – always – have undesirable consequences.

  8. Thank you for posting this, Kelly! My husband has 2 children from his first marriage and we have 2 together. He says he’s done and has been talking about getting a vasectomy. He has several friends who’ve had it done. They all joke about the big snip. I’ve never even thought about the side effects. It does seem like they men we know who have it done are sick a lot and have allergies.
    I have been against by husband getting snipped. Especially since he’s already had one of his guys removed due to testicular cancer 4 years ago. You’ve given me more info to share with him. Now we can further research this so hopefully he won’t get it done.

    Thank you again so much! <3

    • My husband had tc 25 years ago. I would have to advise against it. As he has gotten older the hormonal imbalances or more noticeable. Thankfully we are at a doctor that will work with bio-identical hormones. Also I think somehow this impacts the thyroid.

      • Thanks for sharing this. My dh had tc 26 years ago and we finally had one chld. His testoterone wa low normal then–good to know about the bio-identically for guys too

  9. My husband and I had our kids later in life: I was 36 & 38 and he was 44 & 46. We struggled conceiving our first (it took over 3 years) and #2 came along after 3 months of trying. Because we are older, we decided that 2 kids was enough and my husband opted to have a vasc. That was 3 years ago and he has had no complications from it…yet. Neither one of us regrets it, it was a joint decision and we moved on. I might send him the link above, but I also don’t want him to worry. It’s done.

  10. I posted this on Tuesday, but will say it again. After the birth of my second child which was by c-section, I had a TL done with the clips. Shortly after that my health started to decline, my periods got heavier and the pain was almost UNBEARABLE. I suffered for 3 years and there were points where my husband thought I was going to die. No exaggerating here. Things were so bad (I couldn’t take care of the kids and couldn’t get out of bed in the morning) that my husband started researching what could be the cause. He came across similar research and we found a doctor here in NC who does tubal reversals. It took me a little while to agree to the procedure, but I am so thankful I did. In October of 2008, I had the procedure done. It was discovered that the clips my origianl OB put in where metal. I’m allergic to most metals, so that may have caused some of my issues too. Since the procedure, I’m a new person. I’ve also dramatically changed my diet, which has helped even more. My advice – NEVER get your tubes tied. My mom had a TL done and had a hysterectomy in her 40’s. I hope that with the reversal and diet change, I won’t have to experience that.

    • While I completely respect what happened to you, and I have great admiration that you are willing to share your story and let people know what can happen, to say that no one should get their tubes tied is like saying no one should eat eggs because someone else is deathly allergic to them. When using absolutes you tend to actually water down your arguement and / or turn people off. Please don’t get me wrong, I think you have a great message, I just think it could be delivered with a bit more of an openness about it.

      I pray for your continued health.

  11. Even though I believe this is a very personal decision, I just wanted to share that my husband got a vascectomy after we had two children, and then less then two years after that he got a reversal done and there are doctors throughout the country who will do this for low cost as a ministry. We went to a guy a few states away and paid I think $1800 or something. So I just wanted to offer hope for those who maybe regret their decision and think there is nothing they can do now. These doctors also do tubal reversals, although I believe it costs more but definitely still a heavy discount as they do this as a ministry. If you don’t have the funds, you can also get on a waiting list for financial assistance. Here is the site for that and the list of docs

    We have had two more children since then. :)


    • My understanding is that a vasectomy reversal isn’t always permanent, the scar tissue can reblock the tubes so the best chance of conceiving is in the first three years after the reversal. It’s still definitely worth trying if the vasectomy is already in place, but just thought I’d mention it in case someone thought about having a vasectomy done with the thought that they could just get it reversed if they started noticing health problems.

  12. Yes, I had a TL 12 years ago and shortly after I started having heaving bleeding every other month, I could tell which ovary was working and which month (not severe cramping but I could tell when the egg was released)- I told my GYN and she said it had nothing to do with the TL. I changed my diet and the symptoms have really diminished. Doctors don’t always know. My mother (A Physician Assistant) was against me getting it but understood why.

  13. This is a very interesting post. My husband and I went back and forth on this topic prior to him getting a vasectomy. We considered the consequences for our family (no more biological children) as well as spiritual matters (is this what God would want us to do). We prayed about it and both felt a lot of peace about the decision. We have 3 children and I suffered with progressively worse sickness/nausea/morning sickness with each. I had to be on medication just to function and be able to eat even a little. Having this happen while also living 2500 miles from family also factored into our decision – it was taking a toll on my mental health. Now, had we been told about the immune response, it may have made us take a closer look. But, honestly, it was probably the best decision we could have made at the time. We have had no regrets. It has also opened our eyes to the possibility of adoption as well…something I am not sure we would have considered it otherwise. I do think it is good to be completely informed on all of the decisions you make – the pro’s and con’s. And as a previous commenter mentioned, there are so many things that take a toll on our body. At some point, we just have to step back and realize that God has ordained all of our days – and there is nothing we can do to extend the number He has given us (but a LOT we can do to improve the quality of those days we do have!). Thanks for your thought-provoking post.

  14. I’ve always felt that it was breaking something natural so have never really thought about it (well, that and we are 22 and 25, not really old enough to consider anything like this).

    I remember hearing a lady say her husband was “just not the same” afterwards. Which was really sad, intercourse is not something I’d want to make “just not the same!”

    • actually, I’d have to say things are actually even better for us in that dept following the big “V”. I am sure everyone isn’t the same, but for us that has been the case! :-)

      also, I would think the argument for not “breaking something natural” could really be applied to medical progress in general though, right – like the appendix, tonsils/adenoids, etc. Now, granted, those are all things causing problems and hence the reason for their removal. But, it’s just hard to know where to draw the line…..

      • Totally agree with you about the “breaking something natural” thing. It can be taken too far, but, I guess my bigger issue is doing it for something that is not really necessary. I would consider this operation if I got to the point where carrying a kid endangered the child’s or my life. Lord willing, I hope I never have to make that decision though!

        • “Now, granted, those are all things causing problems and hence the reason for their removal.”

          I think you’ve said my point :)

  15. Being Catholic, our decison to following Church teaching on birth control was out of obedience. I am grateful for Mother Church protecting me from issues I was too young to know or understand. We have nine children and each one is a gift. I had complications, but anything worth doing can be difficult.

  16. When are we finally going to learn that everything in our bodies has a purpose, often several purposes, and that interfering with the natural functions of our bodies is insane!

    Sometimes it may be necessary to remove a diseased organ, but that is the only time the precious organs of our bodies should be interfered with, whether by removal or mutilation.

    Surgery of any kind should be a last resort. Every surgery does harm. While it is possible for the body to heal almost anything, it is much better not to be harmed in the first place. And there is no way to regrow a removed organ, as far as I know.

    I plan to never be butchered by a surgeon again, ever, and there is no way I would let them cut, scar and mutilate my body unless there was no other way to survive.

  17. I had a vasectomy 3 years ago while my wife was pregnant with our third child. I had some pain and discomfort for about 3 days, but nothing terrible. I haven’t had any complications and I don’t have any regrets at all.

  18. I have to agree with the posts that comment on future pregnancies that could endanger the mother or child. Sometimes it is just the best option to do something permanent. You have to weigh the risks with everything in life. I never thought my current pregnancy could lead to so many complications but after this, I don’t know how I can go through another pregnancy again. We will probably go the vasectomy route since my husband is the one pushing for no more children and agreeable to it. We know many couples who have gone this route and have not had problems-although they are still young. My father had one and is one of the healthiest people I know. He never ever gets sick.

  19. Hmm, I see your point. But it is a personal decision for many.

    My mom had a VERY necessary hysterectomy almost twenty years ago. She had a past of reproductive issues–heck, she had to have surgery for endometriosis so she could even have kids and was otherwise very healthy. And yes folks, she lived on pretty much a whole food diet her entire life. Her doctor tried everything imaginable so she wouldn’t need a hysterectomy, so it was a last resort. She got the surgery, and has NEVER regretted it. In fact, she felt better after the surgery than she had in YEARS.

    So while I do agree that there are unnecessary hysterectomies on the rise, please do not ignore the fact that there are indeed times where they are necessary and help improve the individual’s health. It improved my mom’s greatly.

  20. Back in either 1988 or 89 there was an article in The Reader’s Digest magazine where a study had been done on 15,000 men who’d had vasectomies. What they found was a higher incidence of heart disease in men with a type A personality and who’d had a vasectomy. My husband decided he’d keep all of his ‘plumbing’ after reading this article.
    We are not Catholics, but born again Christians and we decided to trust the Lord with our family size. We ended up with 8 children and I would not trade them for anything. They are all grown up now.
    Unless there is a real medical issue involved, I just have never understood why any healthy person would deliberately go under the knife with all of its inherebt risks just to keep from being pregnant when there are many ways of not getting pregnant naturally.

  21. I think the issues with vasectomy/tubals are the same as with the pill: our bodies are programmed to protect us and keep us alive when we are capable of reproducing. Because of our biological programming, we should do everything we can to maintain fertility because it’s a health protector. Personally I would not get one. For anyone who really cannot take the risk of becoming pregnant, combining NFP and barrier methods, you can get the risk of pregnancy down pretty close to zero (i.e., if you are using NFP, condoms and diaphragm, it would be virtually impossible to get pregnant – not the most convenient, sure, but for meat least the trade-off would be worth it.).

    • You may be suggesting using these things in combination in a different way than I am thinking but I just wanted to clarify. NFP, when you learn how to do it properly is 99% effective. It is based on abstinence during fertile times. If you decide to use condoms or a diaphragm during fertile times, the effectiveness rate drops to whatever that barrier method’s effectiveness rate is.

      • I meant NFP as in not having sex during the fertile times, and using condoms and diaphragm during non-fertile times. Thanks for clarifying.

  22. I enjoyed reading this post as I have often wondered about the effects of vasectomies. I would never consider having my tubes tied or being strerilized–as I have no issues that would lead to the need for something like this. But as it is soooo common for men to have this procedure (at least in this country) people always want to know if you are “going to do something permanent”. I agree with Kelly and many others, why would we mess with something that doesn’t require any messing with?? To the people that commented that its like messing with the spleen or appendix or gallbladder… that is a totally different topic and really in my mind cannot be compared to these “birth control” procedures. There is something life-threatening going on with these organs when people have them removed.
    The other thing I see is a lot of people on the defense out of guilt. Not everyone but some. Either because they have already made the choice and had one of these procedures done or are going to and they know that. The thing is if you are Christian we know God is the God who redeems us. He is the God who heals us. He delivers us even from our biggest problems–if we believe Him to. So for people who are upset about this post and the real reason is due to personal guilt or worry deep down, don’t allow those things to be part of you. God is bigger than any mistake we can make. For those who feel they WILL do this, to that I would say it is something that I as a Christian would definitely have to take to God before I made such a radical choice because the Bible teaches that my “body is the temple of God” thus it is “not my own”. This is even beyond the possible bad side effects. If you aren’t a Christian than I guess the only wisdom you have is from the doctors and your own. Best to you all. Prayers for God’s grace to each.

  23. Thanks for raising these concerns, it’s important for people to know.
    Our neighbour recently started having severe migraines which meds did not help. Then she developed severe abdominal pain. She started putting on weight though she was eating less. We were all so worried she had cancer or something sinister. All the tests kept coming back clear. Through prayer she was enlightened that it may be here IUD causing the probs. Her gynie said that wouldn’t be the prob but when she had it removed all the symptoms disappeared and she is back to her normal happy self!! She went through six months of hell because of that IUD and we all thought we were gonna lose her! Worth knowing. It seems very dangerous to mess around with your reproductive system!!

  24. It sounds like a lot of people here are willing to trust God and allow unwanted children into their lives. Not all people look at it that way. Research shows that the more children one has, the more poverty in that family. I take my responsibilities to my 3 children very seriously. I wish I could devote more time to them. I am the breadwinner of our family. I breastfed (and pumped) exclusively and my children were self weaned. (If ONLY I had learned about Nourishing Traditions sooner!) More children in my family was not an option. I hope I don’t sound defensive. I’m bringing this up because unwanted children is a big issue. Other women have these concerns. Birth control is not secure, regardless of the method. I was on the pill in my twenties. I never had side effects, but on some level, I knew I should not be on it into my 30’s. My third child was due to inexact natural family planning.

    I was actually excited about getting the TL. I kept saying to DH, ” free birth control!!”. We go to a holistic family care clinic. No pressure to vaccinate, they push breastfeeding and vitamin D. After #3 was born, we took her in because the hospital said she was “yellow” when we left the hospital (they always do that!). The doctor we saw is a very conservative old man. When he found out about the TL, he said, in all sincerity, “that can be hard on a marriage”. We are still laughing! I’m not sure what he meant unless he is referring to some kind if weird male ego thing about being about being fruitful and multiplying. The double entendre is cute. HARD on a marriage.
    You know what’s hard on a marriage? Having more kids than you can deal with – emotionally, financially, etc… It is good to know your limits.

    • I never had a child who was ‘unwanted’ though I had 8 of them and only the 2nd one was planned. We could not ‘afford’ any child we had, but because we trusted fully in God, He made a way for us to afford every child we had. We did not live luxuriously, and yes, I made many sacrifices, including washing cloth diapers by hand in order to save enough money for the bread and milk for the week, but looking back 29 years I can tell you it was well worth it.
      No one, and I mean no one, should tell anyone else how many kids they can have or how much is too much or too little. If you feel 3 is plenty for you, then that is fine, but to infer that unplanned pregnancies result in unwanted children is pure nonsense, and to infer that having a large family makes you ‘poor’ is also nonsense. Having a large family does mean that you don’t have extra money to blow, that you don’t eat out all the time, and that your kids cannot belong to every program they want to belong to (gymnastics, dance, etc), but we made sure our kids played the sports they wanted to play, I cooked almost all foods from scratch (but did this even when I only had one child), and lived frugally, which we still do now that all kids are grown and gone from home. We were not financially rich, but we were rich in so many other ways, and I would NOT change a thing.
      If God blesses you with a child, He will make sure you can care for that child when you are in His will for your life. Children are a blessing from the Lord, not a curse. Maybe you did not mean to infer these things, but it sounds as though you do from your post.
      My husband and I were able to buy a home back in 1992 with 7 kids still at home, and hubby as the only bread-winner who made less than $29,000 the year before we bought our home. We were NOT on any government assistance, did not live in the ‘ghetto’ and did not move to the ‘ghetto’. We still live in the nice older home we found for $52,900 in a middle income area in a small city in area where we were looking. We wanted in the country, but we could not afford the country, so we lived where we could afford, on what we could afford, and I continued to stay home and raise all my kids to adulthood. Within two years of buying our home, my husband’s income increased 40% by a job change and has continued to increase over the years. We live on 5 times the money we lived on when we were first married 30 years ago (even adjusting for inflation), but we still live within our means and frugally. We’ve never felt the need to have ‘it all’ by living a high life. We also do not deprive ourselves of things we need or want.
      We are now expecting our 13th grandchild and life is good. We would have missed out on so many blessings had we allowed the culture and our finances dictate how many kids were ‘wanted’. Every child we had was wanted, including the first one who was a HUGE surprise, and the last two whom we were not planning on having. As Christians we must think more like God and less like the world.
      ‘You know what’s hard on a marriage? Having more kids than you can deal with – emotionally, financially, etc… It is good to know your limits.’
      How do you know your limits? When I had 2 kids and could not imagine having 4 or 5, was that my limit? But then I had another and another, till God blessed us with 8 children and my ‘limit’ was achieved. My marriage did not suffer from this many children, though my husband had said when we got married he only wanted 2 kids! We ended up trusting the Lord for our family size and we are very happy we did. He knew what our ‘limit’ was. If you truly feel you can’t deal with more than 3 and you are happy with 3, then you know what is in your heart, but that does not mean you know what is best for everyone else as their heart may not be full at 3. I am not trying to be rude, I am trying to get you to see things from a godly perspective and not a worldy perspective. God gives us children as a reward and a blessing, not as a curse.
      ‘Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.’ Pslam 127:3

      • *Standing Ovation!!* The decision to have or not have children is between a woman, her husband, and the Lord. Everyone’s situation is different, but what you said here…. it could have been written by me with only a few minor changes. I am glad you have lived this way, and that you have the wonderful posterity. God bless you.

      • Thank you for that Lori. I feel the exact same way 9 kids later. They may not have been exactly planned but they were ALL wanted. I’m kinda of sick of ppl telling me we have too many children and should only have what we can handle. We don’t depend on the govt, we don’t depend on ourselves, we depend on GOD.

  25. Upsetting and interesting post. I will not allow my husband to get “snipped”, it just doesn’t feel right to me. After reading this I am even more adamant. I also passed on a tubal ligation, which was offered after my second baby (csection). I want to get my i.u.d removed, there aren’t any obvious complications but something about it really bothers me, I’m constantly aware there is a foreign object in me. My problem is I don’t trust ourselves to use condoms, certainly don’t trust myself to rely on NFP and am VERY fertile. We both really feel “done” and I don’t want to risk getting pregnant. I know some people leave it to God but let’s face it, unprotected sex is going to ,lead to babies (unless there are fertility problems). God gives us free will, so leaving it to God is akin to saying yes to being constantly pregnant, no
    thanks. I haut don’t know what to do.

    • NFP is a wonderful tool. It is identical to learning how to eat and nourish our bodies. But you are learning about your reproductive system! You should give it a whirl and see how you do. Not everyone is called to have a billion children or have them all back to back, etc. My sister does NFP out of necessity – she had serious fibroids and had to have them surgically removed. A future pregnancy would be very high risk. She and her husband have 6 children and she was only 30 when she was told to stop. But they are going on 9 years baby-free. It is very possible to do with a great success rate (98-99%!!!) and once you get the hang of it, it’s like making your own bone broth. Just habit! Good luck with your decision. It sounds like you are having a bit of an internal struggle over it!

  26. My 90 year old grandmother is as healthy as a horse, had a hysterectomy ages ago, and will probably be around for quite a bit longer. I wonder if having any of these procedures done is really a danger in and of itself or more so something that simply adds to the cumulative negative health effects of other more deleterious health hazards. I would have loved to opt for NFP, but having irregular cycles didn’t lend to that being a very good option.

  27. NFP can be done with irregular cycles using the Creighton Method. I’ve only used NFP for 18 years and I highly recommend it. I suffered none of the side effects my friends using contraception have suffered. I love knowing how my body works. I plan on teaching this to my daughter when she’s a teenager so she can have an appreciation for how she’s made. But my main point is that you do not have to have regular cycles to use the Creighton Method. In fact, there are doctors who are trained in this method, too, and can help treat irregular cycles with the use of these charts and what they call NaPro Technology. I highly recommend it.

    • Marci, where is the best place (website) to learn more about this? As I move closer toward menopause, I have a feeling I’m going to need it. I suppose I could check my NFP book, too, there’s prob some stuff in there about that method…


  28. I have to comment again about the NFP method. While I would love to use this method for myself, it is a problem when libido is highest at my most fertile time. Using barrier methods would help but the failure rate is much higher esp. when used during the most fertile window. If I can’t take the risk of getting pregnant again, because of health issues, and I can’t trust ourselves to abstain during fertile periods, what other options are there?

  29. After 3 kids my husband and I went through a phase where we wanted to put an end to our fertility. Vasectomy seemed like the easiest way to go, but when I researched it, I found out about the health risks. I already knew that the pill was bad for you, and iud, out of the question. Now we have 5 kids and I’m so happy to have a big family. I hope we have more. For me it was control/freedom issues and negative stereotypes that made me not want to have more kids. Once I got over that I was able to embrace the lifestyle and love it. My kids are all spaced about 3 years apart because of nfp – that has made it easier for me.

  30. Some websites to look at for The Creighton Model is,, and You can search for teachers and “medical consultants” (doctors) in your area. I’m in training to be a Practitioner –or teacher–of the method. One very interesting thing I learned in training is that, though some women feel a stronger libido around ovulation, a majority according to their studies feel a stronger libido in their luteal phase, which I experience myself. This NaPro Technology can also help women with infertility, miscarriages, abnormal bleeding, PCOD, cysts, pelvic pain, and a whole host of gynocological problems. It’s very exciting!

  31. This is just me wondering…but my husband has always believed that women who have lighter menstrual periods are healthier. I’m not sure if I agree with him or not, but here’s the explanation behind his logic: when people lived many, many years ago and didn’t have all the store preparations women have now like tampons and sanitary napkins, etc. to deal with heavy menstrual periods, their diets were probably healthier too since processed foods were really not a factor and didn’t come along until the Industrial Revolution, thus people’s health was better and women had lighter periods. The thing is, I have read about women who had heavy periods even before the modern age…so I don’t know if I agree with this logic. Anyone else?

    • I know that back when I did have periods, if I exercised regularly (I walked 3 miles a day or jogged about the same) my periods were a minor annoyance. If I didn’t exercise, they were a major event.

    • I definitely have much lighter flows when I’m active and eating healthy (3-4 days) verses when I’m not (5-7 days).

  32. I appreciate that this information is available, as everyone should have the right to make truly informed choices. The information on vasectomies was very interesting, as I always felt the procedure would be tempting fate and complications could be very difficult on a marriage.

    That said, I got my tubes tied years ago in my early 20’s. I have never regretted the decision. Even exercising regularly and eating an extremely clean diet, my cycle is (and has always been) extremely irregular to the point that NFP has never been an option.

    I applaud women who are willing to trust God for the size of their family, but hope that we can all respect that God calls each of us to different things. We are not all called to have children, and that decision is between a couple and God – it should not be judged or attributed to assumed frames of thinking by anyone else.

  33. I hope I don’t come off as judgemental, but I think ultimately the issue of how many children one has should be left in the hands of the Lord. If you look through your Bible there are women who were blessed with one child and women who were blessed with multiple. It is true that God has given us each free will but when we are born again in Christ isn’t that handing the reins over to Christ in order to live our,lives better than we could on our own. Each child only adds love and joy to our lives and it saddens me that some on here consider a beautiful human life as only a financial and emotional burden.

  34. The closest that Scripture comes to condemning birth control is Genesis chapter 38, the account of Judah’s sons Er and Onan. Er married a woman named Tamar, but he was wicked and the Lord put him to death, leaving Tamar with no husband or children. Tamar was given in marriage to Er’s brother, Onan, in accordance with the law of levirate marriage in Deuteronomy 25:5-6. Onan did not want to split his inheritance with any child that he might produce on his brother’s behalf, so he practiced the oldest form of birth control, withdrawal. Genesis 38:10 says, “What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so He put him to death also.” Onan’s motivation was selfish; he used Tamar for his own pleasure, but refused to perform his legal duty of creating an heir for his deceased brother. This passage is often used as evidence that God does not approve of birth control. However, it was not the act of contraception that caused the Lord to put Onan to death; it was Onan’s selfish motives behind the action. Therefore, we can find no biblical admonition against the use of birth control in and of itself.
    Contraception, by definition, is merely the opposite of conception. It is not the use of contraception that is wrong or right. As we learned from Onan, it is the motivation behind the contraception that determines if it is right or wrong. Married couples use contraception for a variety of reasons. Some feel called to put off childbearing until they are in a better position to care for children. Some, such as missionary couples, may feel their service to God overrides the desire for children at a particular point in time. Some may be convinced that God has a different plan for them. Ultimately, a couple’s motives for delaying childbearing, using contraception, or even having numerous children, are between them and God. 
    It all comes down to this: no one has the right to determine whether someone else should or should not use birth control, how many children is the “right” number for them, or whether they should have children at all. As in all things, we are not to judge others based on our own beliefs and/or understanding..

  35. Honestly …. avoiding babies is avoiding babies. If you want to do that, why not do it however you want to? Quibbling over how to me, is nonsense, dividing couples into camps when they really agree on the fundamentals of the principle of limiting how many babies they want. LOL

    I often wonder about folks who are able to use NFP. Do most women just have a much lower libido than I do??? It’s just cruel to demand abstinence that time of the month … at least when you have a strong drive! The best thing that ever happened to my husband and I was when we started having children – my cycles are now few and far between. Two times of abstinence per month would put a very real strain on my marriage, and it wouldn’t be one sided!

    That said, birth control has been around a long, long time. Look it up; it was in Egypt in the time of Moses. I’d say that would have been a pretty peachy time to “prevent” – what future does a slave have, anyway? Plus a death edict on boy babies? (Another great time to prevent would be the Great Depression.)

    It is my hypothesis that People of Faith tend to have babies. They are less focused on earth and serving themselves, and they have their trust firmly in a higher power, whoever they believe that to be, and not just themselves. All of these factors make a powerful difference!

    I do think that this was a great post, dealing with the physical dangers of the surgical choices available. No, they don’t happen to everybody – but it’s still nice to be informed. :)

    • In my experience, NFP has had great benefits on our marriage and physical intimacy. There’s a saying that ‘abstinence makes the heart grow fonder’ and that has absolutely been the case for us. And we used the pill for years before marriage and I can tell you that our relationship and physical intimacy pales in comparison to our NFP years.

      Yes, 2 couples can both have very grave reasons for avoiding pregnancy, but the end doesn’t justify the means. Two men, both needing to support their families, choose very different means: one gets a job and the other steals. It isn’t always so black and white, this is something that each couple has to carefully and prayerfully discern for their own family.

  36. This is frightening. We have battled MRSA for years now and DH absolutely refuses any natural remedies or alterations to his diet. He smokes and is a big soda drinker. He was ready for ‘the snip’ after baby #3. Now that #4 is on the way, he really has his mind set. As a convert from the pill and now deeply convicted about the Church’s teaching on NFP, it saddens me (DH doesn’t have the same convictions). It seems that anything you do to mess with your hormones just increases your chances for cancer later, but for me, the moral issue is even greater.

  37. I’d like to hear more information about the vasectomy because we absolutely do not want children so I think that is still the direction we are leaning for dear hubby so I can get off hormonal birth control (and yes we use barrier method too, but I believe in doing at least 2 methods because we do not want to have children for many reasons).

  38. I had a tubal 9 yrs ago. None of those horror stories happened, in fact my hormones were more regular than ever, could be it was my age but my periods were on time & that was cool.
    However I DID have an ectopic pregnancy almost 9 yrs after the surgery. From what I’ve read having a tubal ligation BEFORE you are 30 creates a bigger chance for failure in the procedure. I was 28, the ectopic was at 36.

    I will get another one as healthcare reform covers it at 100% AND I refuse to put unnatural hormones in my body.

  39. I had a tubal during my third and last c-section which was 17 years ago. I didn’t do any research at the time. No Internet yet. I trusted my doctor which these days I would not do since I know more about main stream medicine. She said there were no side affects. Afterwards periods were heavier and lasted longer. My doctor told me our cycles can change in any way after each pregnancy. We can wind up with a completely different behaving cycle after each pregnancy. It wasn’t until now that I had heard heavy periods could be caused by the tubal. I guess there is no way to know for sure what caused it. I have no regrets about having the tubal at this point in time. I love not worrying about birth control. It is very freeing. However I do regret taking birth control pills.

  40. I am 50 and my husband is 57. We had four children when I was in my 20’s. He decided to get a vasectomy after I had the last one. I was not really happy about it but felt like it was a choice that he wanted to make. He does not take any medication and we do labs once a year and he recently had a stress test for heart but is fine. I do know that his thyroid levels (tsh) were high and his immune system does not heal as quickly as it used to and he has a skin disorder where you lose your color, like Michael Jackson was suppose to have had. He has it on his fingertips and some on his face, although he has a beard, and any place where he has scarring, it is white when it heals. I am sure the vasectomy has impacted his system, but overall he is a strong, hardworking healthy individual and there were not ever any side effects to our sex life. I would like to look into it more though. Thanks for posting this information. I did not know that there were any issues with vasectomy or TL.

  41. Who really knows what is the right way or wrong way of planning out our families. That being said I thought I should share my husband’s and my experience. We are not Catholic but we are both Christians. We have 4 children and we will both be 30 this year. Our youngest will be 2 in October. I always just assumed my husband would get a vasectomy when we felt like we were done having kids. He almost had it done after or 3rd child but we didn’t schedule it in time :-) but I couldn’t imagine my world without him! My last baby was over 10 lbs and it was a hard delivery, my husband really didn’t want to see me go through that again and I wasn’t too excited about getting pregnant again at the time (pregnancies really mess me up hormonally and physically). We have always wanted to adopt also and felt like we probably wouldn’t be able to do that if we were having more children biologically.
    My husband had the procedure done when our last was 2 months old. I will say when we went into the room I immediately felt uneasy about it and even said maybe we should think about this more. He said he was already there and going through with it. Well its been about a year and a half, and emotionally and physically it has taken its toll. I felt regret right away about it. My husband experienced the normal pain and swelling the first couple of days but what was really concerning was the lump he found a few months later. He went to the doctor and found out that a small percentage of men get a lump where the fluid builds up and puts pressure and is very painful. It will just randomly act up every once in a while and he says sometimes if feels like someone has just kicked him there suddenly. The only real way to fix it is to either have his testicle removed, which is not going to happen, or a reversal. But I am torn because I feel so called to adopt and know it would be really hard to do with having more children biologically. I do have fear of what would happen to me if we did end up getting pregnant again too. I never really thought we could do NFP either because the time we would have to abstain is usually the time when I have higher libido. So I am still lost at what to do. I have kind of regretted it the moment it happened and have my moments of sadness knowing that I will never experience the miracle of giving birth again. My husband doesn’t really want to worry about me getting pregnant again either and he is kind of scared about a doctor messing with that area again. I don’t have any answers but just thought I would share our experience for anybody considering a vasectomy.

    • I am Catholic, my husband is non-practicing. We had our first 3 in 3.5 years and he wanted a vasectomy then, but just never followed through. Welcomed baby #4 this summer and celebrated our 8th anniv. just a week and a half after his vasectomy, which I was against, so it was very sorrowful for me. After baby #3, though, I had made my peace with no more babies just out of respect for DH’s wishes and had intended just to pray for his conversion over the matter, but I got my days mixed up and God blessed us again. We had a knock-down, drag-out fight after learning of my 3rd pregnancy and I didn’t want to go through that again, but I will never know the anticipation of actively pursuing pregnancy.

      Reading Kimberly Hanh’s ‘Life-Giving Love’ just the chapter on sterilization, one couple who was unable to afford the reversal decided to go on practicing NFP and observing abstinence during the fertile phase in reparation for their sin against God. It will be very hard, and I was secretly looking forward to ditching my charts, but I believe this is ultimately the right approach.

      I’ve been fortunate enough to have easy pregnancies and deliveries, but DH just has very different feelings about openness to life. We are in our early thirties, and I don’t know why or how to explain it, but I had always hoped I’d be having babies well into my late thirties.

      I worry about DH’s health a little more than some of the other posters here b/c he smokes, has a poor diet, doesn’t exercise and has a very sedentary job and hobby. Now I worry about complications such as those other posters have mentioned (fluid build-up) just b/c the dr DH finally chose was cheap. To add insult to injury, we have to pay back the loan we took from his dad for the procedure b/c we couldn’t afford it right now and DH was not willing to abstain till we get our tax return next year and pay for it ourselves (not to mention, keep it under wraps). Thing is, with the strain this has put on our relationship, abstinence may just be our practice till we are able to heal from this.

      • Wow, you’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. I’ll pray for a beautiful healing in your marriage so you can both move forward on the same page. If not (or in the meantime), as always, just do the best you can, that’s all we can do. :)


  42. I have had four gorgeous babies in 8 years.. I always thought I would have four and be done. But my mother heart wanted just one more…however my four babies weighed 10.5 lbs, 10 lbs 1 oz. and 12 lbs 1 oz. and 11 lbs. 5 oz. respectively..all delivered via c section..thank God! and this is in spite of following a no sugar/low sugar diet after first pregnancy and doing some exercise during pregnacy..and eating mostly whole/real foods the last two pregnancies. (yes, I have prediabetic sugar levels while pg;but they normalize after babies birth) I just can’t seem to have a normal sized baby.. my pregnancies have been very hard on my body..and with each pregancy I feel I cannot do this one more time and recovery is worse each time! But then I still long for another baby! My doctor really pressured me to get my tubes tied with the last pregancy and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! I found way too much research saying that women get heavy periods ,etc. and did not feel it was worth the risk. So when my baby was six months old my hubby went and got a vasectomy.. I prayed it would not work out if it was not God’s will and the doctor had to reschedule his appointment twice due to his schedule and I felt like this was a sign but hubby wanted to go ahead. so he has been sterilized for four months now and I actually secretly hoped i would get pregnant in the 3 month period that it takes to get all sperm out of body but this did not happen. the surgery was no big deal for him and he had very little pain or discomfort. Intimacy has been more fun for us without the concern of getting pregnant but I do think my husband might want “it” just a little bit less frequently than before; but maybe I have been imagining it! Reading this article freaks me out because I do not want anything to happen to him.. he feels like he did this for my health when I could not bring myself to make a permanent choice. When he and I researched it the only information we found on side effects was very minor low libido was the main thing. Did not find studies on the long term effects. We both cry when we hear the heatbreaking stories of children in foster care and orphanages abroad and will most likely adopt in the next two years. So while I regret the vasectomy to some extent I also don’t know how many more csections and huge babies my body could handle and I haven’t had much success with use barrier methods for birth control..I seem to get pregnant very easily and never had a regular cycle for NFP. Hope my story helps others who are trying to make this choice. I would not recommend going the permanent route unless there are health concerns for the mother. I should also mention that my father had a vasectomy 19 years ago and though he felt fine initially he ended up having complications in his 50’s and needing to get a hydroseal. I don’t exactly understand what happened but his scrotum was filling up with fluid. Doctors felt that it was due to a botched vasectomy and basically implied that he shouldn’t have gone to the “cheapest” doctor!

  43. Interesting post. I had a tubal after my 4th baby. At the time, we were financially strapped and our best efforts in “timing” had failed us. I’m 60 this year. I do have a couple small fibroids, but they are not problematic. Menopause came calling at about 51, and I’ve been tormented with the dreaded hot flashes nonstop for ten years. But I never had the mood swings that plagued my mom. And I didn’t have unusually heavy periods after the procedure. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably choose not to do it…mostly because I’ve come to realize that everything in our body interacts with everything else. God’s design is full of mystery. Doctors and biologists still don’t really understand it well, and it doesn’t pay to mess with it … Unless, I suppose, the alternative is death.

  44. My first husband got a vasectomy after I lost our fourth child, and I don’t know what his long term effects are, but it worked for us.

    Fast forward, I got with my current husband and went back on the pill because if the four children wasn’t an indicator, I am a fertile gurtle. (Ironic after 4 years of trying to get pregnant with my 2nd child).

    It failed, I have my 4th live child, and I wouldn’t change it. However, I knew I had to do something to prevent anymore. I really felt at 34 (when I had him) that I was just too old to have more, plus I have been a mom for 15 years already :)

    My periods went from bad to worse. I am in excrutiating pain every month. Sometimes I end up throwing up from the pain. My periods are very very heavy and very long. This past month, it lasted 20 days, and by the time it is over, I am just exhausted.

    Also, I can’t predict when they are coming anymore. Sometimes, I will only have 10 days of down time and start again, sometimes I go 30 days before one. Ironically, it is the shorter down town between that causes the heaviest and longest periods. I wish I hadn’t had my tubes tied, but having them untied isn’t an option. I see a cauterization or hysterectomy in the future.

  45. Your source for long term complications of vasectomies won’t open. Just thought you’d want to know. Totally support your thoughts. It so sad the state of health in general in America especially in regards to reproductive health and nutrition. I wish more families would learn NFP methods to not only happily avoid or conceive pregnancies naturally but possibly identify the source of their ilness/symptoms so they could improve their health instead of covering it up or possibly adding more woes by modifying their bodies. .

  46. Thank you so much for this information. I always figured that my husband would get a vasectomy when we were finished having children. That number happens to be two for us for various reasons. Well, my husband adamantly told me he didn’t want a vasectomy and preferred to continue with NFP. He didn’t really have any concrete reasons, but I felt like I had to honor his decision regarding his own body. My family has been pressuring me to pressure him to get the vasectomy–yes, I have one of those families where everyone is in each other’s business :-) This is the first time I have heard any negative consequences regarding vasectomies. I feel so much better about this decision now, and I can tell my family to get off my back!

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