Can I get a vasectomy?

I am a baptized protestant starting RCIA soon. My wife has some medical problems which would endanger her health with another child. We have used NFP before, but due to her unusual female problems, we had another child. Her menstrual cycle is not consistent. We have talked long and hard about this issue. I don’t think it would be a mortal sin to have a vasectomy. I know that it’s a moral teaching of the Church. I’m having a hard time dealing with this issue. I haven’t even joined the Church yet and already encountering obstacles. What would be the Church position on my individual situation?

I understand that you have a legitimate reason to avoid pregnancy. But a vasectomy for contraceptive purposes is evil. The Catechism, quoting Humanae Vitae, states, “‘every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible’ is intrinsically evil” (CCC 2370). The Catechism is also clear that “one may never do evil so that good may result from it” (CCC 1789). Therefore, a vasectomy is not an option.

There are moral ways to avoid pregnancy. Natural Family Planning (NFP) may be an option if your wife’s menstrual cycle can be medically regulated. Practiced correctly NFP is over 99% effective. If your wife’s menstrual cycle cannot be medically regulated and you cannot accept any risk of pregnancy then your only option may be abstinence. This may be a heavy cross to bear but you may have no other moral choice.

For help in understanding the importance of this issue, I recommend reading Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West.

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