What to say to someone contemplating sterilization


This is a young couple - mid-late 20s, he is Catholic (poorly catechized in the 1980/90s), just recently getting back into the Church, she is Lutheran, considering conversion. They have 4 children (1 his, 1 hers, 2 together). 3 youngest children are baptized (oldest one is not baptized because they want to get permission from his mother, and haven’t asked her yet). The 2 youngest are 11 mo apart, and they have decided that he should get a vasectomy. I don’t think they are deliberately going against the Church, but probably have not even taken it into consideration that this is against Church teachings. I’m not even sure I am the right person to say anything, since I went through this same dilemma in my late 20s and made the wrong decision - regretted it later and confessed. I have been praying for them, but am I obligated to say something? What books could I recommend?


You are obligated to say something. Perhaps some of the other posters can give examples of references, but I think the fact that, faced with the same situation, you made the wrong choice and later regretted it speaks volumes. I think you are absolutely the right one to speak with him. Maybe you could discuss your regrets with him, and explain that you wish to keep him from having the same regrets. Then explain what the Church teaches, and that it does so to protect life, the marriage bond, and the sacredness of sexuality.

Of course, your obligation to speak up does not mean you need to harp on the issue, either. Speak your piece in such a way that your point is clear, and offer to answer any questions that he may have, either then or in future. Then let him mull it over in his conscience and keep praying for him.


Try this:



Talk to them, I had my tubes tied prior to become catholic due to health problems and i would probably not live through another pregnancy, but it was the worse thing I ever did Every single day I greave for the baby I may have had, I should have had stronger faith lets god will. Have them learn about NFP


Offer them the positive alternative of NFP. Here is a web page link: omsoul.com/


They used NFP to conceive, but I think their knowledge is limited. I am working up my courage to say something.


I assume you know this information because one of them brought it to your attention. If they share such personal information, then I think you should respond by sharing Church teachings. Since you went through the same thing and regret your decision, then why not warn your friends so they won’t make the same mistake? (Apart from moral consideration, there are some negative side effects to sterilization, and reversals are expensive, painful, and sometimes impossible.) My favorite book related to this topic is Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn.


One More Soul, www.omsoul.com, has great resources on sterilization and contraception.


I struggled with the Church’s teachings about birth control for a long time. I wish I’d had more detailed information about NFP when I was younger. Most people (non-catholic) think it’s “the rhythm method that doesn’t really work”.

For the young couple, I need to be able to explain why I now believe these teachings. Would Theology of the Body be a good resource?


I’d suggest the book Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West. The explanations are at a level that would help you with people who are fairly uncatechized. It’s organized in a coherent, readable manner and would give you simple, yet accurate, talking points.


I did get the chance to speak to them, though I’m not sure I made any impact.


What to say? ‘X, if and when it happens I’m not going to be asking for the gory details of your gastric bypass, why do I need to know what you’re going to do to the rest of your plumbing?’ :eek:


My husband was in the same situation with an employee. He explained why it was against church teachings and why it is devastating in marriages, but the guy did it anyway. However, at least my husband doesn’t have the cloud of guilt hanging over his heart for keeping silent.
Some people think NFP is too much trouble. There is also a neat little computer called the LadyComp that does all the charting for you. It beeps at a set time every morning, you put the attached theomometer into mouth, takes temp, logs data, and you go back to sleep. If you can have relations (if trying to avoid pregnancy) the light is green. Otherwise, red. It is much cheaper than a vasectomy, and God-approved!


You do not explain the nature of your relationship to this couple or how it is you came to be apprised of such private and intimate information.

Assuming they consulted you and sought your opinion, it appears you have provided them with your opinion, based on your values. End of the road. It is not a subject about which you, an outsider to their marriage, have any business making inquiries, assumptions or decisions. As someone noted earlier, you have no duty to “beat them over the head” as it were, with your belief of the error of one of their options. You have given an answer as well as the reasons behind it. Time to be silent–perhaps resort to prayer if you feel so moved–they are the only ones who can properly make this decision for themselves.




I’ve never heard of LadyComp. That sounds really cool.


If it comes up again, or if you can bring it up, if I were you I would try to say something like, “Oh man, if I knew then what I know now, when I made that same choice that you’re considering now, I’d never have done it. There are other options.” and if they ask for more information that you don’t know, tell him you’ll get back to him in the next couple days with it. This may come up again with other people, so it’s good to know what you’re going to say ahead of time.


It does sound cool. I would love to have this… maybe I could have another baby…
But wow is it expensive!!!


There is also babycomp for those trying to conceive. It also takes into account illness, restless nights, and late periods as the result of say, too much excercise and stress. It is expensive, about $500, but consider there is nothing more to buy ever.
But, you should say something to this co-worker. We are obliged and it is an act of mercy.


ladycomp is now avaliable in the US at ladycompusa.com. This model can upgrade to babycomp and has a built-in pregnancy test.

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