Even though vasectomies are considered one of the simplest, most reliable, and most effective forms of any available method of birth control, people don't talk about them every day. But a trio of Los Angeles dads are seeking to break down that stigma by going public about their joint vasectomy story.
Paul Diaz, Basilio Santangelo, and John Lambrechts are fathers, each of them married with 2 children. Their families are longtime friends. At their wives' urging, the friends decided to get their vasectomies performed one after another, by the same doctor, all in the same day. Yes, that's right – the typical vasectomy is such a quick and easy outpatient procedure that one doctor can perform several within a single afternoon.
According to a news release from UCLA Health, the facility where the procedures were performed, the idea came about after Diaz and his wife Lisa had a pregnancy scare and discussed the vasectomy option. Diaz was hesitant to get the medical procedure done, so at that point Lisa turned to her 2 friends – Santangelo's and Lambrechts' wives. The 3 women thought of the idea for their husbands to get the procedure done together, and their husbands agreed.
"Men don't really talk about health concerns together, let alone say something as intimate as 'Hey, I'm going to get a vasectomy, want to come along?'" said Dr. Jesse Mills, a urologist and director of The Men's Clinic at UCLA, who performed the procedure for each of the friends. "But this was the perfect situation." Mills was recommended to the group by Sylvia, Lambrechts' sister and Mills' coworker at UCLA Health, according to Buzzfeed Health.
For the 3 friends, who have taken to calling themselves the 3 "vascateers," it was a no-brainer to "take one for the team" and go ahead with the permanent family-planning method.
"[My wife] Vanessa and I talked in the past that we didn't want more than 2 kids," Lambrechts told BuzzFeed. "Why risk it? I heard the surgery was a quick recovery, and she had already been through childbirth, so that was my contribution."
The "vascateers'" story is so popular and unique because vasectomies are such an underutilized contraception method in the United States. According to a 2015 report from the United Nations, only 1 in 10 American men eligible for the procedure chooses to have it performed, though it is cheaper, statistically more effective, and widely considered safer than female sterilization. Interestingly, info from the same report shows that this isn't an issue in Canada and the UK – there, among many other countries, vasectomies are twice as popular as riskier sterilizations.
For the trio of friends, publicizing their vasectomy outing was an easy way to encourage other men. "We not only decided to do it, we decided to be very open about it," said Diaz. "I don't think it's something to be ashamed of. On the contrary, I think by choosing to do this, you're being responsible."
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