Poll: Birth Control

Regardless of conservative opinion, when you’re done having children, you’re done. It may be best for you physically and emotionally, or just the right time according to you and God. But making the decision to be done is only half of the equation. Following through can bring changes on both a physical and spiritual level, and each method carries with it a risk in one form or another. So what do you do to prevent further pregnancy and maintain intimacy in marriage? What gives you enough peace of mind that you will both not be surprised by an unexpected addition, nor feel that you are in opposition to God’s will?
Do you think some methods are more appropriate or safe than others? More fair to women? The official church opinion on surgical sterilization was discussed here, but it appears that many couples do not adhere to this belief.

Share your method of permanent or long term birth control with us in this week’s poll. And if you feel comfortable, please share the reasons for your choice.

Corktree

Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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34 Responses

  1. Conifer says:

    We’re sure that we’re done, but since we’re still relatively young we’re accepting that that might change, so we haven’t done anything permanent. Paraguard IUDs last 12 years, so by the time mine expires I’ll be in my mid thirties. By then if we still don’t want any more we’re planning on a vasectomy. Or maybe an IUD. The vasectomy would give me greater peace of mind, though.

    And really, if we decide to have more kids, we’re almost certainly adopting anyway. But why limit our options now when we don’t have to?

  2. wonderdog says:

    This came up in High Priest’s group a few years ago. The consensus was vasectomy.

  3. Anonymous this time says:

    We went the vasectomy route, and it worked fine — until the mother’s biological clock started ticking away demanding another child before it became too late. Fortunately, the tying of the male tubes was reversible (at significant expense). After the last child was born (with a mom over 40 and a difficult pregnancy), it was time to tie the female tubes, a decision we haven’t regretted.

    What this means in terms of advice, I’m not sure. The problem is that all the nonpermanent options have their drawbacks.

  4. HokieKate says:

    My plan is an IUD after the one we think will be the last, in order to give us a buffer to make sure we’re sure. Then I’m really interested in the new Essure product, which is an implant in the fallopian tubes that seals them off. The posters in my doctor’s office look neat.

    My mom had her tubes tied the same day she gave birth to her fifth at the age of 34. Then, like all women in my family, she had a hysterectomy in her late 40s for other reasons. I don’t think any of the women in my family have made it to fifty without having a hysterectomy for non-family-planning reasons.

  5. Vasectomy for us, when our youngest was just five months old. But I had her at 40 and she wasn’t exactly planned. The great side benefit of vasectomy for us has been an improvement in our sex life–I didn’t realize how much a niggling fear of pregnancy had been hampering my enjoyment.

  6. CatherineWO says:

    When we were making this decision back in the mid-80s, there were not as many choices as there are today. I chose to have a tubal ligation and have never regretted that decision. I agree with janeannechovy, it was the best thing ever for our sex life, also for my mental health, giving me a sense of freedom I didn’t even realize I needed.

    • Corktree says:

      I’m really looking forward to that freedom from fear of pregnancy. My husband had a vasectomy in December and I’m still nervous about it failing. I’m even setting it up for him to come in randomly to get tested for the next two years to be sure it doesn’t re-canalize. 🙁

      • Erin says:

        I’m so glad to hear someone else gets nervous about the vasectomy failing! I’ve known a couple of people who’ve had it fail several years down the road (in one case it was 5), and no way do I want that! We’ll give ourselves a buffer time where I’ll use temporary bc just to make sure we’re really done. Then I’ll go the permanent route (not sure yet what will be the best option there) because I want to feel completely confident that I won’t end up with a caboose baby (no offense to anyone who has one – my MIL does, and the little one is wonderful – it’s just not for me).

  7. anonymous for this says:

    I really, really want my husband to get a vasectomy. My reasoning is this: my body has been ripped, and torn, and stretched through childbirth for our family. It seems perfectly fair to me for him to step up and get a vasectomy for our family when we know we’re done. But he’s having nothing to do with it. Seems to think that having a vasectomy violates principles of not altering the natural function of his body. I think his objection is part religious and part distaste for the idea.

    We had this conversation the other night, and it made me really sad that he wouldn’t consider this.

    • Corktree says:

      My personal feeling is that it’s the man’s turn to step up and take one for the team. But after talking through it and watching my husband go through it, I understand their fear and hesitation (which is often passed off as not believing it’s okay). I think you can do a lot to alleviate their fears by presenting some understanding and support, much as we would want during childbirth.

  8. FoxyJ says:

    I had a tubal after my last baby a year ago. I am only 32 and we have three children, but I’ve had c-sections for each one and my uterus has some issues that make birth and recovery difficult. I get pregnant easily but we’ve had some complications along the way, including a really scary placental abruption at my second birth. My husband also felt completely done after three kids; I wouldn’t mind more kids, but I really can’t imagine being pregnant again or having another c-section. We chose a tubal because it could be done at the same time as my c-section.

  9. Corktree says:

    Has anyone tried barrier methods other than condoms?

    I’m having a reaction to either the lubricant or condom material and it’s just really hard right now to always be creative. I’m thinking of trying a diaphragm until we’re sure his V worked, but the idea seems very foreign and I don’t know anyone that’s used one.

    • mraynes says:

      I liked the diaphragm for a lot of reasons but you might not want to take my word for it since I just gave birth to a baby it was supposed to be protecting me from. 🙂

      I think you should be fine, though, if your husband has had a vasectomy and you’re good about placing it correctly and using it every time.

    • CatherineWO says:

      My mother used a diaphram between babies for all her reproductive years and swore by it. I used one off and on for a few years too. It was effective and was much less imposing and more comfortable for both of us than condoms. It also doesn’t mess up hormones the way some other methods do. However, it is a little messy. You have to leave it in for several hours afterward, and after you take it out, you will want to shower. If you’re comfortable with your own body, it’s no big deal–really pretty easy to use. (Sorry for the graphics, but I don’t know how else to explain.)

    • Stephanie2 says:

      Have you tried a non-latex condom? My SIL is allergic to latex but can handle non-latex.

      • Corktree says:

        Yeah, we’ve tried a variety. I think it’s probably the lubricant. Natural oils work, but then they make the condom weak 🙁

  10. Chris says:

    I knew I was done, and for physical and mental health reasons could not have another child. I opted for a tubal ligation, but had some significant health challenges after it (unbelievably heavy periods) which eventually required a hysterectomy, which its assorted challenges (low libido). If I had it to do over again, I would have insisted that my husband get a vasectomy.

    I feel very sad that the Church feels we should get permission from a bishop to go through permanent sterilization which we cannot have any more children. Surely, God understands this personal and difficult decision. My husband was a former bishop, and we felt that after prayerfully deciding on our permanent method of birth control, that was enough.

  11. E says:

    IUDs are a great option. They are statistically as effective as sterilization but much quicker, easier, and cheaper and reversible. I don’t think anyone should be pressured to undergo sterilization if they are not comfortable with it, including fathers whose wives have sacrificed physically to give birth.

  12. Duerma says:

    I’m going with IUD for the moment. We’re pretty sure my current pregnancy is the last one, but I’m only 28 and husband is 30 – we still have an awful lot of life ahead of us. What if, 10 years from now, I suddenly decide I want one more? What if (heaven forbid) we divorce and remarry and want to have children with our new spouses? I mean, I don’t *expect* these things to happen but you never expect these things to happen. So, I’m hesitant to do anything permanent because life is so fickle.

  13. Angie says:

    Tubal ligation.

    Why? Because it’s my body, and I don’t want to be pregnant again. Did not consult anyone, did not pray, did not wonder if it was “right,” have not felt one bit of angst, thank God regularly for the medical science of birth control. All things considered, this is the greatest time in the history of the planet to be a woman.

  14. Two of Three says:

    Also tubal ligation. And also, I didn’t feel it was anyone’s business but my own. After several difficult pregnancies and three surviving children, I was very done. My husband wasn’t willing to have a vasectomy and I wanted something very permanent. No side effects or complications. I have never regretted it.

  15. The Brother of Jared says:

    I went with Vasectomy. My wife had delivered 3 of our last 4 boys 6-10 weeks early. We decided that we were done and for financial reasons (I didn’t have insurance) that $600 dollars for a snip was lots better than the major surgery that would have been my wife’s option. It was almost a fight with the doctor to have it done, me being just barely 25 at the time.

    What’s funny is nobody thought to mention that I was to be wheel-chaired from the operation to my car. So I pull my pants and started walking down the hallway to find it filled with shocked nurses. They’d never seen a man actually walk out of the room before. I didn’t know whether they wanted to scold me or give me a standing ovation.

  16. Anonymous this time says:

    Corktree asked:

    Has anyone tried barrier methods other than condoms?

    Yes, vaginal foam. We even have a kid to show for it.

    My wife and I were quite fertile, and nothing worked well as a contraceptive before she started using the pill (which we avoided for various medical reasons, and started using because the choices seemed to be it or abstinence). The vasectomy (and it was literally a pain thanks to an infection afterward that temporarily gave me testicles bigger than golf balls, I kid you not) was also effective, at least for six years. So was the reversal, immediately, although at the time the doctor said there was only a 20% chance of pregnancy within the first year because of the time that had transpired since the original surgery.

  17. Anon says:

    I’ve only been married a few months, but my husband is not down with a vasectomy, for some reason I don’t really understand. I figure if I keep mentioning it for the next few decades he might be ready when I actually need that from him.

  18. faranji says:

    Have join in the chorus of support for the vasectomy. After my wife gave birth for the third time (plus one adoption) it just felt like our family was complete. Being in the room for those three births made it clear that, physically, it was time for me to step up and take one for the team. Waited until the youngest was almost two and then had the procedure. We are still in child-bearing years (late thirties) but if the “need” for expanding the family arrives, we will be more than happy to pursue another adoption.

  19. Moniker Challenged says:

    Three cheers for the good gents who aren’t too craven to undergo a vasectomy! Go ahead and flex your biceps in the mirror, you deserve it!

  20. E says:

    Tubal ligation.
    My first 2 babies, while not IVF, involved lots of reproductive technology to begin the pregnancies. (The last 2 were not as complicated) I’m happy with my 4. I am sure that I am done. A Tubal is final, but I have enough experience with the technology to be confidant my Dr. could work around it in the VERY unlikely event that I changed my mind.

  21. O says:

    LOL, my husband said he didn’t want a vasectomy either, but I told him there was absolutely no discussion about it, and he was getting one. 🙂 After so many months of pregnancy, labor & deliveries, breastfeeding, etc, its just not fair to even ask me to go under anesthesia and have inpatient surgery, plus the recovery time, which is two weeks. A vasectomy is an outpatient procedure, with a recovery time of like, 24 hours, so not a biggie (and no offense, but even dealing with an infection doesn’t sound that rough compared to having a baby and breastfeeding. Ever hear of thrush? Okay then.) 😉

    It infuriates me when women concede to their husband’s selfish desires and undergo freaking surgery because of it. Men, get the snip snip. Seriously, think back to the pain your wife went through to give birth to your many children, and just MAN UP already. (Bunch of pansy wusses!!!!)

    • Two of Three says:

      What is the other option, O? I could not make him get a vasectomy. Yes, he is selfish. That’s a given. But what should I have said “Vasectomy or divorce?”. I easier way was to take matters into my own hands and have the surgery.

  22. mellifera says:

    I love my, I love my IUD! There are some IUD types that are more prone to complications and you do need to have it put in by someone who’s experienced with it– so I got the low-complications version (Mirena) and went with someone experienced. Ba-da-bing. (We’re not done, just between babies right now, but I tell you it’s the IUD that’s made our sex life and this doctorate possible.)

    There’s a clinic somewhere that started offering a special on vasectomies during March Madness that turns out a lot of business for them. Apparently having basketball watch during the (1-2-day-long– cry me a river!) recovery clinches the deal for a lot of men.

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