The participants were 14 vasectomized men aged 39-54 years. With regard to the date of vasectomy, two participants had been vasectomized one year before the study, three participants one to three years before, five participants four to seven years before, and four participants eight to 10 years before the study. The data were analyzed by Colaizzi's method. A total of 118 concept codes were acquired from the findings of the research, which were categorized into four basic themes of ‘opinions about vasectomy’, ‘own perceptions about vasectomy’, ‘experiences with the procedure’, and ‘recommendation of vasectomy to others’. Some of the narrations and remarks of the participants are presented in the following text:
Opinions about vasectomy
One of the thematic concepts inferred from vasectomized men was their opinion about vasectomy. The findings showed that the participants had various points of view in relation to vasectomy, which yielded subthemes of the motive for selection of the method, process of selection, and the role of the spouse in selection and knowledge of reversibility of the procedure.
Motive for selecting the method was a subtheme obtained from the interviews in the present study. The participants had experienced personal and socioeconomic factors as the main motive for selecting the method:
Participant 1: “As I had several children and no clear future, I selected this method.”
Participant 14: “After investigating about contraceptive methods, trying a couple of them, and experiencing their lack of 100% success, I decided on vasectomy just after my wife's second pregnancy.”
Participant 7: “First, I did not even think of this method due to its irreversibility, but after my third child was born and my wife could not have pills (contraceptives) due to obesity, I accepted it (vasectomy), based on the recommendation of the personnel in the clinic.”
Subtheme of ‘the process of selection’ was elicited from the interviews. Personal investigations, research, consultations, and recommendations of others were among the various dimensions experienced by the participants:
Participant 2: “My wife and I both selected this method.”
Participant 4: “We selected this method based on the recommendations of some of our friends as well as consultation with a urologist.”
During their interviews, most of the vasectomized men mentioned that the decision about infertility had been mutually made by the participation of their spouses. Their spouses had most of their information from the health-care system as well as their relatives:
Participant 8: “As my wife was scared of tubectomy, she recommended vasectomy to me.”
Participant 12: “My wife was very worried about the operation but relieved after investigation and attendance of family planning counseling sessions.”
Another extracted subtheme was reversal of the procedure. Few participants believed in reversal of their fertility and most of them had undergone the procedure despite being aware of the low chance of reversal:
Participant 3: “I knew the chances were low, but I thought three children were enough in the present social conditions.”
Participant 6: “before surgery, I know about low chance of success of future fertility.
Own perceptions about vasectomy
One of the obtained themes from the participants’ narrations was their own perceptions about vasectomy. The findings of this category were in two subcategories of positive and negative concepts. The findings showed that most of the perceptions were rooted in the feelings and opinions of the individuals as well as their own evaluation of the opinions they had heard, and ultimately, their attitude to infertility.
Participant 5: “I have a wonderful opinion about that. It is like when you have your tooth pulled out; first you are in pain but later, you are relieved.”
Participant 4: “If we knew more about this method, we could cope with it better. Whenever I think about my infertility, I think of other alternatives such as adopting an orphan and….”
Participant 9: “I have heard about early aging from those who have undergone vasectomy, but I do not know how much of it is true.”
Participant 1: “I have read that those who have undergone vasectomies suffer from depression and mental disorders, but as yet, I have not felt anything special after the surgery. Although I feel depressed at times, I do not know whether it is because of the surgery or not.”
Experiences with the procedure
This theme emerged from two subthemes of experiences before, during, and after the vasectomy. Fear of the postsurgery complications was among the most indicated experiences. Most of the men mentioned their postsurgery concerns about complications and their feelings of postsurgery satisfaction. Other experiences were mostly about hospitalization, feeling shy about an accompanying person in the hospital, condition of sexual desire, limitations in doing heavy activities after discharge from the hospital, long waiting time for the sterilization to begin taking effect, and concerns about unwanted pregnancies.
Participant 13: “I was worried about postsurgery pain and suffering, but I was satisfied after the surgery and … it was an outpatient and simple operation, although it worried me in the beginning.”
Participant 8: “I felt very shy at the time of preparation for the operation in front of the persons accompanying me and those around me and ……… I was scared a little at the time of signing the operation consent form.”
Participant 12: “I faced some problems in walking for a few days after the surgery and also, I was afraid of engaging in heavy physical activity and….”
Participant 5: “I think one of the problems for those undergoing this surgery is the long waiting time for the contraceptive to start its effect after the surgery, which imposes the stress of an unwanted pregnancy.”
Participant 2: “For the first few days after the surgery, I doubted my sexual ability due to edema at the incision site and the discomfort in my testicles; I felt regret for what I had done, but gradually this feeling melted away.”
Participant 6: “I had no negative experience and I considered it as an ordinary surgery like hernia even before the operation.”
Participant 10: “For a while, I doubted my sexual ability. I was sometimes low and it would affect my marital relationship negatively.”
Participant 11: “Thank God, I had no special problems and found it a pleasant experience.”
Recommendation of vasectomy to others
The other theme was recommending the vasectomy procedure to others. It included two aspects, recommendations and warnings about the procedure. Some of the remarks of the participants about this theme are as follows:
Participant 3: “It is a good method; I recommend it to all, as we had no more problems of unwanted pregnancies.”
Participant 4: “It is a low-risk method; it increases the sexual desire and has no complications.”
The researcher believes that the most significant experience of the men in the present study was their recommending vasectomy to others, which can enhance the participation of men in the health care of women and make vasectomy a routine procedure in the society.