What to Know about Male Fertility and Vasectomies

By Fr Christopher Kubat

Fr. Christopher Kubat is a priest of the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. He is pastor of St. Andrew Parish and St. Mary Parish. He received a BS in 1979 and a MD in 1983 at Creighton University. He later graduated from Mount Saint Mary Seminary in 1999 where he received a MDiv and a MA. He is currently the national chaplain of the Catholic Medical Association.

Vasectomy is a surgical procedure usually performed under local anesthesia to prevent sperm cells from mixing with semen during ejaculation. It is meant to be a permanent method of sterilization, but it is estimated that the long term ‘failure rate’ is 1 in 2000 men. (1)

Sperm cells or spermatocytes are produced in the testes and transported to the epididymis for storage. Sperm cells are transported through the vas deferens to the ejaculatory duct where they are added to the seminal fluid.

The procedure involves cutting or ligating both the right and left vas deferens preventing the movement of spermatozoa through the vas deferens. This may be done by using one or two small incisions made on the scrotum or by making a small hole. The cut ends may be cauterized (burned) or tied off with dissolvable sutures. (2)

The long-term complications may include postop symptomatic hematomas (blood clots) and infections (1-2%), chronic scrotal pain and discomfort (1-2%), with some requiring additional surgery. (3)

This procedure is considered a permanent form of sterilization, although some men undergo vasectomy reversal which is not always successful. The success rates decrease with the passage of time and dramatically decreases after ten years. (4)

It is estimated that over 500,000 vasectomies are performed in the United States annually. (5) Since the Dobbs decision overturning Roe vs. Wade, practitioners in numerous states have experienced an increase in the numbers of men requesting this surgery. (6)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate actions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception)”. (7)

In the Encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI wrote that there is an, “inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.”(8) Direct sterilization removes the procreative dimension from the marital act.

The greatest gift humans are given after the gift of sanctifying grace from the sacraments is the ability to be partners in the creation of human life. Couples that are open to life become procreators in the creation of human life. We were created by God for God in order to know Him, to love Him and to be happy with Him in heaven after this short earthly life is over. Today more than ever we need to pray for more respect for innocent human life and for the role men and women play in the creation of human life.

End Notes:
1.	Vasectomy, What You Should Know; Urology Care Foundation, www.UrologyHealth.org 
2.	What is a vasectomy? Urology Care Foundation, http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/v/vasectomy p.1
3.	American Urological Association (AUA) Vasectomy Guidelines, I.D. Sharlip  5/2012
4.	Vasectomy Reversal: What You Need To Know. Healthline, T. Jewel, 12/4/2017
5.	Estimating the Number of Vasectomies Performed Annually in the United States. M.Eisenberg, J. Urology 2010 Nov; 184 (5): 2068-72. doi: 10.116/j.juro.2010.06 117.Epub2010 Sept 20  
6.	https://www.newsweek.com/here-are-states-seeing-high-vasectomy-consultations-since-abortion-ban-1720847
7.	Catechism of the Catholic Church  # 2399
8.	https://www.newsweek.com/here-are-states-seeing-high-vasectomy-consultations-since-abortion-ban-1720847