Last week I took the very necessary precaution of having a vasectomy.
My apologies if you are eating but it isn’t something you can really sugarcoat although I have done my best to be as euphemistic as possible when explaining to people why I have spent a week walking like John Wayne in True Grit.
The most used explanation is that I have had a procedure that a 41-year-old man with two children has. Vasectomies, although not a taboo, are not the thing blokes, or pretty much anybody else for that matter talk about, as I have found out. When I explain to my pals what I have had done, I am met with either awkward silence or a wince and something along the lines of ‘rather you than me’ or ‘why on earth have you done that?’ The truth is it was all relatively painless, over in no time at all, although I was knocked out for the duration. When I came round in the recovery room, it was to the sound of uplifting music and I am happy to report it was neither The First Cut Is The Deepest nor I Am Not The Man I Used To Be.
I am certainly not a pioneer - lots of dads have taken the decision to have the snip, coming to the conclusion that I did, that they are more than happy with their lot. Personally speaking, I couldn’t bear the thought of changing nappies or waking up at 2am for night feeds in my 40s.
Family planning is a serious business and while there are other forms of contraception, the procedure I had is pretty much the most effective of the lot - my surgeon proudly told me he has not had one unwanted pregnancy following 5,000 ops.
And, of course it is available on the NHS, but for how much longer? Last month, health bosses in Oxfordshire, announced vasectomies in their area would not be provided free of charge on the NHS in future. Inevitably, they cited budget constraints as the reason and, given the NHS is increasingly stretched with each passing year, there is every chance we could see this happen elsewhere.
Society knows all too well the problems population growth and unwanted pregnancies pose - a vasectomy is a simple procedure which should be available to all.