Is a vasectomy permissible if you have ten kids?


I just got off the phone with a mother of ten children, inquiring about learning NFP, who has recently been put on three medications for bipolar disease. (limectol, lithium and diprexa). She knows that there are severe risks to unborn children if she were to get pregnant. Her husband has scheduled a vasectomy three weeks from now. He has talked to priests who have told him he has served the Church well by having ten kids and not to worry about it.

From what she has read it is a mortal sin and he shouldn’t even receive Communion once the procedure is done. She wants to know if this is true, and is their only option NFP unless they want to be damned to hell knowing it is wrong and still doing it. She wants to do what is right despite that it might be opposite of what the priests are telling her husband.


Unfortunately, this couple has been given very bad priestly advice. The Church never permits direct sterilization under any circumstances, even when the couple has ten kids or must take medication that would endanger future pregnancies.

As an NFP instructor, you know that NFP is very reliable and that it can be used in a very conservative fashion for people who absolutely cannot risk getting pregnant. I recommend that you reassure this couple that, by learning NFP, they will be doing all that they can do to address this unfortunate situation in a morally responsible fashion. You might also point out that even vasectomies are not one-hundred-percent foolproof. Wouldn’t this couple much rather accept whatever small risk there is of pregnancy with NFP than deliberately mutilate the husband’s body and still face a risk of future pregnancy?

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