As a childfree man, having a vasectomy was the right thing to do

By Sean Mzwandile Sibanda

Sean Mzwandile SibandaEver since I was 17 years old, I have had an obsession with one thing and one thing only, a vasectomy. I remember the day I first learnt of the procedure. It was at a local trade show in my hometown of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. A local Non-profit Organization was advertising sexual health education and contraceptive methods. The moment I read the vasectomy section, I was intrigued, fascinated to say the least. From that day on, something in me was sparked.

It was until 5 years later that I finally came to the realization that I didn’t want children. I began to think about sterilization again, this time, with the absolute certainty that one day, I would get ‘The Snip’.

As a childfree man now living in South Africa, this seemed like a daunting task. Not only was I trying to figure out if the private health care or public sector would be appropriate for this procedure, I also had to deal with the fact that I am a part-time postgraduate student. Also, I work in the hospitality sector, so the efforts to get time off to get this procedure seemed daunting at best. And so, life got in the way. I got busy, and I kept finding excuses.

And then the coronavirus crisis hit the world! Like many others, I too wasn’t spared the economic ramifications and got my hours reduced. But reduced hours meant that I had the free time to focus on having a vasectomy. With the high cost of private urologists in South Africa, I turned to the only option I had, Marie Stopes International South Africa.

I was skeptical at first. There were no past reviews of the doctors there, but I had read good reviews for the organization’s branches in other parts of the world. My Medical insurance did not cover the procedure at the clinic, so I would have to pay an out of pocket cost of R2600.00 (USD.150.00/GBP115.00/AUD245.00). I could only get a reimbursement from my insurer if my GP referred me to Marie stopes.

My GP was far from helpful unfortunately. She flat out refused to refer me and scoffed at my idea. It was as if I had asked to detonate a bomb in a playground. That I am 25 didn’t make a difference to her. She simply stood up and walked away laughing. That didn’t put me off, on the contrary. It made me even more determined to have the procedure done.

The procedure itself took about 20 mins to complete. I felt some discomfort when the anaesthesia wore off. The sad part was that I had no one to look after me whilst I was recovering. The first few days afterwards were not good. I had to sleep facing upwards, with a bag of peas on my nuts and kept my feet elevated so as to allow for a speedy recovery.

By the ninth day, I had healed, with no complications whatsoever. Mind you, getting a vasectomy isn’t the end of the story. I still have to ejaculate 28 times to remove the swimmers stuck upstream as they can still impregnate a woman.

I sometimes forget I had a vasectomy. People may judge me for doing it at a young age but I have my reasons. The world is overpopulated and I don’t find the idea of fatherhood appealing in any way. It was definitely worth it.

Sean Mzwandile Sibanda is a part-time post-grad student at the University of Pretoria, and a hospitality professional in Rosebank, Johannesburg. He hopes to bring awareness to the childfree lifestyle and help remove the stigma associated with the choice, especially in Africa. Sean is a guest columnist on a number of childfree websites and can’t imagine living life any other way.

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