Spenser Cattin, 30, who never wanted children, says he first considered a vasectomy eight years ago. He has talked about the procedure several times over the years with his partner, who also does not want children, but did not act until October 2021. At the time, Cattin spoke with his primary care physician in hopes of referring him to a urologist, and a consultation took place within a month.
In mid-May, Cattin finally scheduled a vasectomy appointment, coinciding with the leak of the draft decision overturned Roe v. Wade. Although Cattin has wanted to have a vasectomy for years, he said the news about Roe cemented his decision. Cattin underwent surgery on June 30, just days after Roe was officially overthrown, and shared his experience publicly on Facebook.
Below, read Cattin’s story to Melissa Matthews, SELF’s Deputy Health Director. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
When the draft Supreme Court opinion first came out, I had an idea behind my back nagging the person in charge that they were doing it for other people Come, when they come for me, no one can tell. I feel like I’m looking back in time. As a cisgender white male, my bodily autonomy has never been too threatened. This is a big part of my desire to have a vasectomy as soon as possible. After the adjudication is over, I am waiting for the appointment I have scheduled to complete it.
For me, responsibility was a big reason why I chose to have a vasectomy. I’ve discussed birth control with new partners in the past, but no one has asked me if I’ve had a vasectomy. It takes two people to have a child, and all the responsibility should not be placed on these two people. I’ve also read that it can be more difficult for people with a uterus to get some types of birth control (like an IUD). It almost feels irresponsible not to do something when I feel like a vasectomy is an easy option.
Having this surgery was an eye opener and I didn’t really do what I expected. My consultation lasted about five minutes and I just remember being asked if I had children. By contrast, I know women in their 40s whose doctors tell them not to get tubes in case they want kids. You won’t realize how easy it is for you to have it until you’ve done it really simply and others can’t use it. I wonder why this is not easy for everyone.
On the day of the surgery, I was told I needed someone to drive me to my appointment, but no one else was involved in the preparation. I’m not nervous at all. I’m more afraid of taking time off work than having a vasectomy.
The whole procedure, from local anesthesia to walking out the door, took about 30 minutes. I went in, got local anesthesia, and the doctor asked if I wanted to play the whole thing. He was very calm and explained that some people like to know every step, while others find it worrisome. I’m the kind of person who wants to know what’s going on, so the urologist explained the process in detail. He made a small incision on one side and cauterized my vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm) and did the same on the other side. Then I put on a pair of knee pads with gauze and was told to wear it for 48 hours, which meant I couldn’t shower for two days. When I left, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders because I no longer had to worry about having a baby.