Birth control, specifically vasectomy


So right after my youngest sister was born, my dad got a vasectomy. He got it because of my mom’s health issues. While pregnant with my youngest sister, she had to be put on bed rest, and eventually, my sister was born at 30 weeks via c section. It took a huge toll on my mom’s body. They went to our parish priest at the time, and he said he, my dad, was allowed to get a vasectomy so it was made certain my mom wouldn’t get pregnant again. Normally I would immediately think they were wrong in doing that, and that they should’ve just used NFP from then on. But my mother, a devout Catholic (she’s literally one of the most Catholic people I know), insists that her body wouldn’t have been able to handle another pregnancy. Plus our priest at the time said it was ok. So I’m having second thoughts.
I also know of another family, who, when the mother had an IUD, suffered a miscarriage, so they realized they should use NFP instead, but they got pregnant less than a year after starting it. She’s due in a couple weeks, and a few weeks after she gives birth, her husband is gonna get a vasectomy. The reason is, like my mom, because of health reasons. The mother had EDS, a rare disease that affects the skin, blood vessels, and joints. Pregnancy, labor, and birth is very very hard on her body, and this being her third pregnancy makes it even worse. They are planning to adopt in the future.
I guess, after pondering over those two stories a long time, I just can’t believe that there’s NO exception to contraception whatsoever.


There is no exception.

No matter how hard the situation might be, it doesn’t make the easier way okay. The priest was wrong about the vasectomy being okay.

I can only imagine such a situation. I imagine that it would be very hard, especially emotionally. And although I cannot understand the situation, lacking experience, I feel sorry for people in that situation. But we have to recognize that just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have to do it. In this case, it’s hard not to use birth control. But that doesn’t make using birth control okay.

The only time using birth control (by “birth control” I mean hormones and other methods that are commonly used in birth control) is acceptable is when its goal is for some health issue, not to prevent conception. So, it’s okay to take the pill if you’re taking it to combat endometriosis, for example. However, it is not okay to take it for the purpose of contraception, even if the reason you want to contracept is for health reasons. I can’t say I would definitely choose not to contracept if I were placed in such a situation myself. I do seem to have a habit of doing the easy thing, even if it means doing the wrong thing. So I understand the desire to contracept in this situation.

Let us all remember to extend a hand of mercy, compassion and love to people who are in difficult situations which make doing the right thing emotionally, physically, and otherwise difficult.

When it gets difficult to want to do the right thing, spend time in front of a crucifix and ponder Jesus’ situation on the first Good Friday. It won’t make the decision easy, but it’ll put things into perspective and perhaps give the grace to aid in making the decision.


Do you ever wonder why people are sharing intimate details of their sex lives with you?


Who are you talking to?


There is a such thing as a reverse vasectomy.


There is no Catholic teaching that this is an obligation.


The priest was wrong.

I suggest you let this drop, there is no reason to burden your parents. I’m not really sure why you would be talking about this with your parents, it seems to me a private matter.

They followed erroneous advice from a trusted source, their priest. They were under duress. Their culpability is greatly reduced.


I agree. It’s in the past now. And it’s your parent’s private business.


Nfp or outright abstainance. That’s all.

I’m floored that a priest told someone to get a vasectomy.
Mutilating your body so that it doesn’t work properly is never going to be okay with the Catholic Church.

Anything that gets in the way of the body’s natural functions is unnatural and not supported.

Again, either natural planning or abstainance.
“You mean we should just not have sex at all?!”
Yes. When you’re an adult it’s pretty overrated anyways lol.

Sex that is open to the possibility of new life is the truest form of physical intimate Love.

I’m certain your parents are excellent folks, no judgement on them at all. The past is just that, the past.


Depending on how long ago this was, I’m not. There were many priests who counseled couples 20-40 years ago (even 50 years ago since Humane Vitae is that old) that the Church was going to change it’s teaching or priests that dissented from HV and outright taught their flocks in opposition to it.

I know one personally. He was a real piece of work, counseled couples in this area that contraception was perfectly fine. That wasn’t his only deviation from the Truth, unfortunately.


Interesting, thanks for the input 1ke!


Many have disputed the three infallible ex cathedra in HV:

  • In conformity with these landmarks in the human and Christian vision of marriage, we must once again declare ("iterum debemus edicere") that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun is to be absolutely rejected (“omnino respuendam”) as a legitimate means of limiting the number of offspring – especially direct abortion, even for therapeutic purposes.
  • Equally to be condemned (“Pariter… damnandum est”), as the Church’s Magisterium has repeatedly taught, is direct sterilization, whether of men or of women, either permanent or temporary.
  • Similarly to be rejected (“Item. . . respuendum est”) is any act which, in the anticipation or accomplishment of conjugal intercourse, or in the development of its natural results, intends-- whether as an end to be attained or as a means to be used–to impede procreation.

“De propagatione humanae prolis recte ordinanda,” AAS 60 (1968) p. 490

I have even heard a parish pastor say it was not infallible.

Ref: The Ex Cathedra Status of The Encyclical “Humanae Vitae”


I am so sorry your parents shared intimate details of their contraception with you. That can make it very difficult for you to accept the teaching of the Church because it seems by doing so you must “condemn” your own parents. Know that God loves them more than you do, and that His mercy is there for all who repent.

We can go over and over, tell you how dangerous IUDs can be, how vasectomies do not always work, but you can do that research yourself.

Know that Christ gave us a Church. That Church helps us to understand even the hard teachings. Following these teachings is always, always, ALWAYS for the best even if we cannot see the best right now.

Pray that God will give you the faith to believe in all of His teachings.



Well, some people choose to do what they think best for themselves even though it goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church


This is what sin is like. We ponder it, we see others sin and somehow get a benefit of some kind. It weakens our resolve to follow God and his commandments and stay the course. Playing these stories over a long time in your head has been a tearing down, not a building up.

How can I build up your confidence in following God?
There are people who wanted to be married and have a family and have never married. They would look at those situations and have envy and wished they had a spouse and children. Using NFP would not seem like this huge burden when you live a life alone. They are already living chastity every day.

I know 2 ladies who are in their 80s.
One lady had 8 children and they grew up, got married and had families. Those grandchildren are adults now. She lives by herself since her husband passed away from cancer. (He died at home while surrounded 24/7 by family praying the rosary) She has someone there every day, someone calling, someone taking her to appointments. There is always a vase of fresh flowers on her table. Food in her fridge. In her younger days she even took in foster kids who also send her cards and things. They are in another province, not close by. (She smiles when recently she told me one of those girls, who was a pregnant teen, still calls her mum) A lifetime of living in blessing. Think on these things.

The other lady in her 80’s had 4 children and a number of miscarriages. She currently lives with her youngest daughter and also has calls every day, visits, etc. She has had a few small strokes so her memory isn’t great. Someone always makes sure her clothes are clean and there’s food in the fridge and of course, there’s someone who is taking care of the usual running a household. She’s lived a life under the blessing of God.

Ponder the lives of the saints. There are a lot of very ordinary Catholics who have lived a life of blessing. They strengthened others in their resolve to follow Christ, to raise their eyes to heaven, our true home. Have courage! God loves you, even to death on a cross!


People still make mistakes.


was allowed to get a vasectomy so it was made certain my mom wouldn’t get pregnant again.

There’s no such thing as “made certain” that there will be no pregnancy with common methods of artificial contraception. I’m living proof that vasectomies don’t always work! :wave: :crazy_face:


Currently, the Church offers no exception to its teaching on artificial birth control. Yet, Natural Family Planning programs such as the Creighton Model of Fertility Care, when done for the right reasons, are possible moral options approved by the Church. Yet, like any method, it must be done correctly or it will not work.


The Original Poster.

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