Struggling Since Vasectomy


My husband and I have been struggling in our marriage since having a vasectomy about four years ago. I was not a Catholic at the time. We had three small children and then I lost both of my parents within a few months. I was overwhelmed and grief stricken. My husband, who was concerned for my sanity, decided to have a vasectomy (at my suggestion) even though we both felt that it was wrong in terms of natural law. The vasectomy actually failed and I felt like it was a miracle and a blessing. My husband did not see it that way and having already gone so far decided to have it redone despite my pleading that he wouldn’t.
I have since become a Catholic and see the wisdom and beauty of the Truth. When dealing with the issue in confession the priest advised that having three children is enough, we have done our part and that I should just love my husband. I trust in Christ’s mercy but I struggle with how to handle our reality in our marriage and in our area there seems to be no priests who actually see what we have done as wrong.

I am trying to discern how exactly we should ammend our lives given a reversal is not likely possible due to the two previous surgeries. I know that one possibility is to practice NFP and abstain from fertile times, however I am praying and hoping for a miracle and want to be open to life at these times.

Because of my sadness, my husband is willing to look into a reversal but I feel like I am being selfish in asking him to do this and wonder if our resources would be better spent in supporting children in need or possibly seeking adoption. I long to put things right but I don’t want to assume that they can be. I am open to the possibility that this will be a sorrow I must live with but can offer up but also feel afraid. I would appreciate any advice you could offer.

Thank you


Last Updated: November 20, 2021
On receiving your e-mail, we at CANFP began praying for you and your husband. You mention you and your husband’s struggle to do the right thing. We who are affiliated with CANFP want to support you in following the Truth. Congratulations on coming into the Catholic Church! Welcome home!

First, it is against the natural law to get a vasectomy. It is also contrary to Divine Law. Your consciences were right. You mention that there “seems to be no priest who actually sees what you did as wrong.” There are priests who would say what you did was wrong because the Church teaches that it is unacceptable. However, the forgiveness you received through the priest was real as you mention you trust in Jesus’ mercy. In regards to your situation, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in paragraph 2999: “Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).” You and your husband want to discern now exactly how to amend your lives. Where do you go from here? This is good. Going to Confession was the good first step.

You were not pleased with what my brother priest told you when he said that you “have had already had three children and to just love your husband.” The Church will not force your husband to get a reversal, but would recommend it to you as a means of amending your life for the better and living your marriage vows. Reparation for sin involves repairing what has been damaged. There are doctors associated with CANFP who are capable of doing a vasectomy reversal. You mention that your husband is open to it. It sounds like you have your answer. You are not being selfish when you consider asking your husband to get the reversal. Many of us would be thrilled if your husband got the reversal. I would be particularly proud of you guys.

If the reversal is successful, then yes, perhaps employing a method of NFP, you can begin anew to live the third marriage vow, and be open to God’s gift of children. If the reversal is unsuccessful, then many of us who respect the Church’s teaching and respect marriage and sexuality, would recommend practicing NFP as if you both were fertile as a means of respecting God’s gift of fertility and sexuality. Abstaining during fertile times would be a good way to make reparation. Also if the reversal does not work, then perhaps explore too, the possibility of adoption or helping children in need.

I am concerned about the sadness that you mention at least twice in your request. It is common for a son or daughter to mourn the loss of one or more parents. With prayer, grace, faith, and time, your hope should normally increase. Give yourself time. In my experience there is a sadness or disconnect among spouses who sterilize themselves, but add to that as well the loss of both your parents. It’s no wonder that you experienced a deep sadness. Keep a strong prayer life, participating at the least in the Sunday Eucharist. Pray with your husband and with your three children. Be open to a bereavement group or even counseling. The Lord will help you.

Finally, you can call CANFP too for more questions. We are here to support you. Thank you for wanting to do the right thing. I hope and pray that this helps. God bless you and keep you.

In Jesus and Mary,

Fr. Ed

Answered By:

Fr. Ed Horning
Fr. Edward Horning is a priest for the Diocese of San Diego, and Pastor of the Catholic parishes of Westmoreland and Brawley. Fr. Ed co-hosts a radio program about Theology of the Body called “Buenos Días en el Camino” on Thursdays from 9am-10am on ESNE radio (El Sembrador). The video recording of Fr. Hornings presentation in Spanish at the National HV50 conference held July 27-28 in Ontario, California on 50 años de Humanae Vitae: Viendo el mundo con los lentes de Humanae Vitae y la Teología del Cuerpo can be viewed

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