No kids, no regrets! Joburg man (29) on why he decided to have a vasectomy

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Just shy of 30 years old, Phethelo “Jag” Fakude decided to take contraception into his own hands. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Just shy of 30 years old, Phethelo “Jag” Fakude decided to take contraception into his own hands. (PHOTO: Supplied)

For some men being called “Dad” is the greatest title in the world – but becoming a parent simply isn’t something this 29-year-old wants.

And Phethelo “Jag” Fakude is so sure of this he decided to have a vasectomy after months of careful consideration and plenty of research.

Jag, who is from Johannesburg, was so thrilled he’d taken control of his destiny he rushed online to tell the world about it. 

“I’m 29. Unmarried. No children and no intention of ever having any. I’ve wanted this for years. It’s surreal,” he said on Twitter.

He expected his followers to react – but what he didn’t expect was for his tweet to trigger a national debate. Jag had barely pressed send when his social media feed blew up with South Africans slamming his decision to get the snip. 

Some people couldn’t understand why he took such drastic measures to ensure he would never father a child, while others attacked his masculinity and cultural beliefs. 

“At 29, you’re too young to think you don’t want babies,” one said. “Sadly, it is the end of a generation,” another added. “I know the ancestors are not happy.”

Jag says he’s received the harshest criticism from men but it doesn’t surprise him. 

“A big part of this has just been men saying my masculinity and manhood have been forfeited,” he says.

“They aren’t willing to take steps to prevent having children because of patriarchal beliefs, but they don’t want to take on the duty of rearing a child.”

Despite the backlash, Jag is glad his story has started a conversation about vasectomies and family planning. “Some people didn’t understand at all what a vasectomy was – they thought I’d had a castration,” he says.

Now he’s on a mission to educate men about the procedure.

Jag, who was raised in Mbombela in Mpumalanga, is one of seven children and he loves kids, he says. He’s a doting uncle to 10 nieces and nephews and when he lived at home he often pitched in to change their nappies or take them to school.

Still, he’s never had the desire to have kids of his own. “It’s all incredible and cute and meaningful for the people who do it and I support them but none of it ever gave me that broody feeling. 

“I’m just not the kind of person who craves the feeling of fatherhood.”

For years he thought the only form of male contraception was condoms and the withdrawal method until one day he overheard a group of men discussing vasectomies.

When he approached the men they told him the medical procedure cost around R8 000 and involved a doctor cutting the tubes that carry the sperm produced in the scrotum. With no sperm leaving the testicles, it’s impossible to produce children.

Jag is also a photographer and comes from a big f
Jag is also a photographer and comes from a big family. He now wants to educate men on male contraception. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Jag was unable to afford the surgery at the time and put it on the backburner.

But the thought nagged at him. Eventually he went to his doctor who referred him to a urologist – who quoted him R50 000 to perform the procedure. “I was starting to give up hope,” he admits.

Then one of his friends told him about the Reproductive Choices Clinic in Centurion, a private facility that specialises in reproductive wellness. “When I saw the price was R5 500 on their website, I knew for a fact I was going to get a vasectomy.”

The entire process took 10 minutes, he says. Jag had a local anaesthetic for the procedure and experienced some discomfort afterwards. 

He describes the pain like being kicked in the groin by a horse but adds it doesn’t last long. 

“After the first three days the recovery just escalates,” says Jag, who is already back at the legal firm where he works in the debt collection department after getting his LLB at the University of Pretoria. After 10 days he will need to ejaculate up to 20 times and have his sperm samples tested by a lab to ensure he is infertile.

READ MORE | SA contraception breakthrough: this could be 'The Pill' for men

Jag has been single since his last relationship ended four years ago. Should he meet someone he was willing to have a family with, he could still have kids. “The testicles still produce sperm,” he says. 

“If I wanted to have children, doctors would just need to extract the sperm from the testicles and then try in vitro fertilisation.”

The vasectomy Jag opted for is irreversible. After the tube was cut, the tip was soldered shut with a medical device, as opposed to the tip of the tube being bent back and tied with a small piece of cable. In this option, should a man want a reversal, the cable is untied – but Jag didn’t want that choice and says it’s unlikely he’ll regret his decision. 

“I definitely don’t want to be a dad,” he says.

‘Some people didn’t understand at all what a vasectomy was – they thought I’d had a castration’
– Phethelo “Jag” Fakude

Though he’s made his thoughts clear on the matter, his family hasn’t fully supported his decision to get snipped. 

“Coming from a big family, and I guess also from a black family, having kids is just part of how you do things. So they were reluctant to believe me but now it’s real.”

He says he’s received a lot of positive responses from women, who’ve congratulated him for taking on the responsibility of family planning instead of leaving it up to his partner. 

“Vasectomies are the least invasive of all of these contraceptive procedures, even less invasive than something like the Pill, which as we know, has many hormonal implications,” Jag says.

The tweet announcing his decision has triggered a
The tweet announcing his decision has triggered a national debate around vasectomies. Experts says there are plenty of options available for those interested in the procedure. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Dr Pieter Spies, a urologist and lecturer at Stellenbosch University, agrees. “A vasectomy is a permanent, safe and extremely effective prevention of unwanted pregnancies,” he says. 

“Compared to permanent female sterilisation, it is a much less risky and invasive procedure with a significantly quicker recovery time.”

Even so, vasectomies are not a popular choice for South African men. In Europe and the UK between seven and 17 % of men opt for the procedure, compared to less than 1% of men in SA.

“In SA, where we have a statistic of 20% of all births being unwanted or unplanned, there’s a huge need to increase the acceptance of vasectomy as a contraceptive option,” Dr Spies says.

There are plenty of options available for those interested in the procedure, he adds. Some state hospitals, such as Karl Bremer in Cape Town, have a dedicated men’s health clinic where men can have a vasectomy free of charge.

Though many men have criticised him online, Jag says others have contacted him to find out about the experience and where he had the procedure done.

“That’s really the big takeaway from all of this – speak to someone about it because that’s what I did,” he says. “I think that’s the big lesson that I want African men to learn from this.” 

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