Sad about sterilization


My husband and I decided after our third baby almost eight years ago to have him get a vasectomy.:frowning: The day we did it and ever since then I have been feeling awful about it. We have since been saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, but now are left with the consequences of our actions. I would love for my husband to have a reversal, although I don’t know if he’d be up for that.:rolleyes: My question is: A lay minister told me that we should not be receiving communion because of this sin. I have asked God’s forgiveness profusely over this subject already. Is this true? And also, does anyone have any Catholic resources for having a reversal? We don’t necessarily want more children, but I feel horrible leaving God out of the equation this way. Any feedback would be helpful. Thanks.


Have you both confessed this sin to a priest and received absolution in the context of the Sacrament of Reconciliation? If so, then you absolutely can receive the Eucharist and the lay minister is mistaken. If not, then the lay minister is correct, and you need to get yourselves to the confessional. Once you’ve repented and been absolved through sacramental confession, you’re cleared of this sin in God’s eyes.

As for the reversal, I don’t think the Church requires it. I’m sure there are many others on this forum who could answer that in greater detail.


I also regret having a vasectomy almost eight years ago. I had just lost my dad and was not in a right frame of mind but I still went ahead with this. I went to confession and I expected to be raked over the coals for this. My confessor absolved me and said to just move on as God does not want us to dwell on past sins that are forgiven. The Church does not require a reversal for absolution and you and your husband can definitely receive Communion following Reconciliation. There are very rare occasions where conception takes place after a vasectomy. I took the stand that if a pregnancy were to result at any time after my wrong decision the child would be MORE than welcome. I believe that if you continue to observe Church teachings and have gone to reconciliation then put this behind you. God knows that it is not easy. I still think of this to this day but then I realize the mercy of a God so loving that He died for these mistakes…Hope this helps… God Bless :slight_smile:


The church does NOT require a reversal; only a sincere confession/penance.

I know some couples who practice NFP, even though they have gone through sterilization. It helps assuage their guilt, and in every single one of the couples I know, it brought them closer together emotionally, spiritually and physically.

God bless,



a lay minister has absolutely no authority to tell an individual whether or not that individual is subjectively in a state of mortal sin, or to deny them communion. The minister should have done what will be done here, refer you each individually to your own priest in the forum of the confessional. Yes, objectively surgical sterilization is a sin, but neither that lay minister, nor anyone here, is in a position to know the state of soul of the person who had the surgery. That is a matter between that person and the priest. Likewise, the spouse of that person must bring up the circumstances to her priest in confession to understand her role, guilt if any, in the circumstances. No, as has been discussed many many times here and addressed on AAA, it is not required to seek surgical reversal in order to obtain absolution. How the couple should conduct themselves is likewise a topic for pastoral counselling in the confessional.


Arghhh, this is a relevant topic to me. As you can see, we are pregnant with our third kid. This will give us three spaced 2 years apart and my wife is not handling it well. She has stated that if I am too worried about the consequences of a vasectomy, she would have her tubes tied. We tried NFP and it seemed to work for quite a while. Given that she’s a doctor, she’s pretty in tune to her body. But we’ve traced this latest conception to a very safe day…That has convinced her it will never work. At first, I was a tad relieved that she was offering to get “fixed” even though I knew it didn’t absolve me of the sin. But the whole fact that a vasectomy can be reversed (and may still leak) has me wondering if it’s better in the long run for our family and souls…

As for the leakage thing, the now famous “virgin birth” at Chimp Haven down the road here gives me optimism.


Previous posters are right about confession. If you have confessed this to a priest and received absolution, this should not prevent you from going to communion. If you haven’t gone yet, you should go. :slight_smile: Don’t be afraid. God’s forgiveness waits for you there.

The suggestion of using NFP is a very good one.

Reversal of the vasectomy is not required.

Also, be open to the possibility of adopting children. It is another way for you and your DH to give life to children, even if you cannot do so biologically.


NFP worked perfectly! It kept you open to the will of God, even if His plans weren’t the same as yours. :slight_smile: It is supposed to be about responsible stuardship of your fertility, but also open to the fact that God sometimes takes our lives in direstions we don’t expect. :slight_smile:

Congrats on the baby, by the way, Brian.


Thank you so much for all of your replies. This makes me feel so much better. The lay minister did tell us that we needed to confess to the priest, but he did not know if we would need to then get a reversal and said to seek advice. We are still both open to the possibility of another child if God decided to bless us again, but I don’t think we’ll actively pursue one! Thanks again for everything! :slight_smile:


That’s putting it lightly. I think we’d have been in a slight state of shock if you’d told us 5.5 years ago we’d have 3 kids by the time we were 31!


believe me… a lot of people will give anything to be in your shoes right now!!! congratulations and god bless


The lay-minister was correct in telling the OP that she needs to go to confession with this and should not be receivng communion until that is accomplished. Any of us us who have a discussion with a Catholic who has done this should offer the same loving counsel.Sterilization is listed as plain as day on any examination of conscience that I have read as a mortal sin. The OP is obviously sincerely repentant. ( I know I live in these shoes) . Confession to a priest is still required. As with any mortal sin we do not receive communion until after we seek out the sacrament of penance.

Swatters, you are on the right track here. I was in the same position. The priest told me in the confessional we did not have to get a reversal of sterilization unless we really felt called to do it. He instructed us to pray and fast about it. We did not think that was what we needed to do. However it was also suggested that we could practice NFP and stick to non - fertile days as a form of penance for doing as you say keeping God out of the picture. God Bless You.


I put the term mortal sin in bold because it should read “grave matter”. There might be varying factors, as with any grave matter, that might reduce the culpability of this sin. When I had my vasectomy there were so many outside pressures and with the then recent loss of my father my full consent was clouded. Sacramental confession was in order but I just want to clarify that there is a significant difference between objectively grave matter and mortal sin. I am very scrupulous and it took me some time to understand this. Seatuck, your post is on target. I just wanted to insert my :twocents: God Bless…:slight_smile:


Yes, you are correct that the final analysis between grave matter and mortal sin does happen in the confessional at which time priest is there to help us sort this kind of thing out. I do tend to mix terms in general conversation and you are right I should be more careful. Thanks.



I don’t understand why the church does not require reversal? Isn’t that kinda allowing you to have your cake and eat it too?


I struggled with this question myself for a long time. Then I realized that it is where your conversion of heart stands. For example, most mortal sins cannot be reversed. In the case of gossipping to where a person’s reputation is ruined would be almost impossible to reverse. In an extreme case such as murder, abortion (murder) or any destruction of human life we cannot reverse the action. God is much bigger than that. Restitution for a vasectomy should include the acceptance of any child should the procedure fail, following Church teachings regarding marital practices and allowing God’s peace to fill you.

Remember that many non-Catholics feel that our Sacrament of Reconciliation is allowing us to “have our cake and eat it too”. This is a misunderstanding of the Sacrament. God’s mercy and forgiveness is infinite. I still struggle with this because of scrupulosity but I’m getting better. God Bless…


I understand that. :frowning: The whole issue, especially the fact that it is so readily available, is really sad as well. :frowning: Prayers for us all! :frowning:

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