A vasectomy is a very personal decision – and it should be. You’re deciding on whether to allow (pay) someone to take a sharp object to your family jewels.
It makes sense then that you may have a lot of questions when considering a vasectomy.
Question: Who should perform the vasectomy?
Answer: A board-certified urologist with expertise and great reviews.
Question: What kind of vasectomy should I have?
Answer: A no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy with nitrous oxide.
Question: How old do you have to be to get a vasectomy?
Answer: This one is complicated.
I’ve performed vasectomies on men in their 20s with no kids, and men in their 50s with enough kids to field a mixed softball team. Most often, I see guys in their 30s or 40s with 2 ½ children (weird that they report this as the average size family, isn’t it?).
So what’s the right age to get a vasectomy? Let’s look at the different factors that play a role in your decision and guide you to the one that is best for you.
Every state has different statutes regarding the age of consent for medical treatments. For the sake of argument, most states set this age at 18 years old (please be certain to review the laws in your state of residence).
For men with federally funded insurance plans (typically Medicaid or VA), they require a man to be at least 21 years old with the mental capacity to decide on a vasectomy. Otherwise, a man in this situation would have to pay cash for the procedure.
Now, we certainly know that legal age does not correlate with actual age in terms of the ability to make sound decisions. Some men are “old souls” who benefited from great parenting. They make great decisions early on in life. Others (present company included) are late bloomers in the game of life.
We’ll dive into this topic next.
Legally: How old do you have to be to get a vasectomy? 18 years old for most states.
Did you make your best life decisions in your 20s? I know I didn’t. Thank god there wasn’t Snapchat when I went to college.
Experts say the male brain is not fully developed until 25 years old. Women may argue that the male brain never fully develops at all.
Nonetheless, there is some science to back this statement. Decision-making ability is controlled in part by the pre-frontal cortex area of the brain. Neural connections continue in this area into our 20s and sometimes 30s.
Our lack of maturity and poor decisions making during the college years makes more sense with this understanding. It also makes sense why some doctors may question a man considering a vasectomy before age 25.
The decision of permanent sterilization is one that should not be taken lightly. A vasectomy is “permanent”. At least, it’s meant to be (a vasectomy reversal is a bigger, expensive surgery with no guarantees of success).
It’s difficult for most guys in their 20s to stop and contemplate fatherhood. On the other hand, some men got an early start on adulthood and by age 24 have a job, wife and 3 kids. They know how expensive children are and would like a good night’s sleep knowing there won’t be an “oops baby” nine months from now.
Regardless, every man’s situation is unique, but there is science questioning our ability to make smart long-term decisions as a young man.
Developmental: How old do you have to be to get a vasectomy? Science says 25 years old, but every man develops differently.
So, assuming your brain is fully developed and it’s legal for you to decide, should you get a vasectomy? Well, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
For some men the idea of an “oops baby” is devastating, and for other guys the response is, “oh well”. Take some time and walk through this scenario with yourself and/or your partner.
Can you afford another kid? Would a child impact either of your careers? Do you have travel aspirations? Would you have to buy a new car? Do you want to be a father at all?
If these questions are causing you to sweat profusely, then you may be ready for a vasectomy.
50% of marriages end in divorce. What if your new 27-year-old girlfriend always wanted kids of her own? Would you consider a vasectomy reversal if you met the new woman of your dreams? What if a tragedy struck your family?
I know these are difficult, and arguably morbid, things to consider, but this is a big decision.
Spend a moment contemplating what your future self would want if a divorce or other major life event occurred. For me, I have three wonderful kids. Having more kids was a deal breaker for any relationship. You may feel differently.
The last scenario to discuss is men with no children. Typically, these are guys who have given these questions a lot of thought. They know they don’t want to father kids, no matter the situation.
If this is you, you’re not alone. Personally, I commend you for giving this question some serious thought. I wish more guys took fatherhood more seriously.
There are many potential reasons a man may not want to father children. Sometimes their strong convictions are based on their personal experience with their own father. Some guys also see overpopulation as a real problem and are willing to adopt a child if necessary.
Regardless of the reason, this is a personal choice that should be respected.
Personal considerations: How old do you have to be to get a vasectomy? It’s up to you, young Skywalker. Find your Obi Wan Kenobi for more guidance.
Deciding on a vasectomy can be a challenging decision for a man. Deciding on how old you have to be to get a vasectomy is equally challenging.
As a board-certified urologist with expertise in vasectomies, I view myself as a guide. Your Obi Wan Kenobi.
Although there are moments in healthcare where I have to be a bit more authoritative and tell a patient what he needs to do, the decision to have a vasectomy is yours. Like any decision, there are pros and cons to a vasectomy.
Your age or the number of children you father should have little impact on this decision. It drives me insane when I hear of colleagues who “turn men down” for a vasectomy because they are “too young” or “may want kids later.” It’s not your decision buddy! It’s the patient’s choice!
Now that being said, if a fatherless guy under 25 years old came in for a consultation, we are going to have a deep dive discussion about his choice. But ultimately, it is his choice. One that I take very seriously when I partner with a patient.
If you’re considering a vasectomy or want more information about a no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy with laughing gas, then click here.
If you feel like we’d be a good fit for further discussing your family planning choices, then give us a call (615-527-4700) or SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
I’d be happy to see you, perform a same-day vasectomy, and then direct you to some great takeout options while you sip on a cold one in your hotel room.
If you’re old enough for a vasectomy, you're old enough for a frosty beverage. At least that’s my motto.
Dr. Joseph Pazona is a board-certified urologist practicing in Nashville, TN. He is an expert in performing the 10 minute, no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy using nitrous oxide. Whether it’s Dr. Pazona’s awesome sense of humor or the laughing gas, men can be heard laughing hysterically during their vasectomy at Pazona MD.
Doctor Joseph Pazona is the founder of Pazona MD, a specialty urology practice located in Nashville, TN. He has been published in medical journals on the topic of urology & authored several consumer ebooks on a variety of urologic conditions in addition to the topics of telemedicine, and continuing medical education (CME). When he’s not treating patients or writing he enjoys traveling, hiking, running, cooking, and spending time with his three children and fiancé, Catherine.
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