Reproductive Double Standard
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Reproductive Double Standard

In the thread titled 'Vasectomy dilemma', Walt and e.p. touched on something I experienced when I got a vasectomy 19 years ago and was married to my late wife (first wife):

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Originally Posted by Walt
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There is a horrible double standard when it comes to vasectomies, though. My wifes' gyno was asking her if she wanted tubes tied after our second was born and I wasn't in the picture for any of it. My wife could have gone with it and I'd never know. When I went to get my vasectomy, I had to get my wife's permission... wtf? I also had a testicular cyst that needed operating on (and would permanently sterilize me due to removal of the vas deferens) and again, I was asked to wait 30 days and get my wife's permission to proceed.
So true. My doctor required that my W attend the initial consultation before he would perform the vasectomy!

I don't recall whether she had to sign anything or not.
I was also required to get my wife's signature on a legal form to get 'permission' before the urologist would agree to perform the vasectomy. I had no problem with that since we were a couple and both had considered the ramifications of this irreversible procedure, so my decision only came after I took my late wife's thoughts, feelings and desires into account - A unilateral decision on my part was completely unacceptable to me. My late wife also showed the same consideration after she gave birth to our third child when she was offered the option of having a tubal ligation performed, though in her case there was no requirement to have my signature on a legal document giving my 'permission' before they would perform the operation on her. That was almost 20 years ago but still the practice of requiring the wife to give permission via a signature is still required by many physicians.

Still it does irk me that many urologists still would try to force this upon married men when there is no legal obligation for them to do so.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

It's not about you, it's about the doctor mitigating his risk of getting sued--for a successful procedure (how nuts is that?).

You are missing the key difference regarding getting tubes ties versus a vasectomy--women carry a baby. The inherent risk to themself is enough to make it a whole different thing even as it seems like a one-to-one relationship.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

I forgot about that but yes I had to sign a form giving permission for my husband to get snipped. It was a joke though. They never met me and the signature could have easily been forged. But I guess it's better than nothing and it's probably legal.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

Mori,
It isn't a double standard. I know just as many women who had to have their husband sign on the dotted line prior to a hysterectomy....in one case, an emergency one.
FWIW, I didn't have to sign anything for my then 26 year old husband to have a vasectomy.
Some doctors require the signature to wave liability. Many hospitals do as well. Many do not.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

I guess it is a double standard. Women can get bc pills for purely contraceptive reasons with no problem...
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

My H had his V around two years ago and I didn't have to sign either. This is an issue of doctors protecting themselves and nothing more.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

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It's not about you, it's about the doctor mitigating his risk of getting sued--for a successful procedure (how nuts is that?).
Exactly, medical practice has turned into liability management, and having one little piece of paper vastly reduces the likelyhood of a lawsuit from an angry wife from going anywhere.

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You are missing the key difference regarding getting tubes ties versus a vasectomy--women carry a baby. The inherent risk to themself is enough to make it a whole different thing even as it seems like a one-to-one relationship.
Inherent risk? Women have evolved specifically to carry a baby. FASTSTATS - Deaths and Mortality
A 3 extra large cokes a day habit from McDonalds is more likely to kill you than carrying a baby.

It's simply a mater of experience from the doctor's (and thier lawyers) perspective that dictate the difference.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

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Mori,
It isn't a double standard. I know just as many women who had to have their husband sign on the dotted line prior to a hysterectomy....in one case, an emergency one.
FWIW, I didn't have to sign anything for my then 26 year old husband to have a vasectomy.
Some doctors require the signature to wave liability. Many hospitals do as well. Many do not.
I understand about the liability issue but I doubt very much that a wife would be able to successfully sue a urologist in court for a vasectomy her husband - a legal adult - consented and signed for.

And the complications from a simple surgical procedure such as a vasectomy are minor compared to a major surgical procedure such as a hysterectomy which can potentially have life threatening consequences.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

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It's not about you, it's about the doctor mitigating his risk of getting sued--for a successful procedure (how nuts is that?).

You are missing the key difference regarding getting tubes ties versus a vasectomy--women carry a baby. The inherent risk to themself is enough to make it a whole different thing even as it seems like a one-to-one relationship.
And how is it then that I was not required to sign a permission form for her tubal ligation which is many times more riskier than a vasectomy?
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

I am friends with a woman who was NOT allowed a tubal due to her H not giving his permission. It might vary from state to state.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I understand about the liability issue but I doubt very much that a wife would be able to successfully sue a urologist in court for a vasectomy her husband - a legal adult - consented and signed for.

And the complications from a simple surgical procedure such as a vasectomy are minor compared to a major surgical procedure such as a hysterectomy which can potentially have life threatening consequences.
I think you are overthinking this. This isn't some double standard or doctors siding with women to control a man's reproductive rights....which I assume is the direction you are heading. This is for legal reasons only. Heck, plastic surgeons are getting spousal consent in droves now because of lawsuits. Implants aren't permanent either, which after 5 years, 90% of vasectomies are.

Pot stirrer you.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reproductive Double Standard

My urologist asked if my wife knew and supported my decision to get my vasectomy. Of course, I jokingly told him that it did not matter because she was not paying for it. The doctor said that the only reason for asking is that studies have shown that a large percentage of men will later ask for it to be reversed if they have not discussed it with the wife. He said that the same studies also showed that women are less likely to seek sterilization without the support of the husband. I amended my answer, stating that of course she knew and approved.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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And how is it then that I was not required to sign a permission form for her tubal ligation which is many times more riskier than a vasectomy?
You are not following my logic, obviously.

If you get a vasectomy or not, you do not subsequently carry a baby with all the attendant risk. A vasectomy is a far less risky procedure than a tubal ligation is or pregnancy for that matter.

Tubal ligation is considered surgery that in some cases can be prevent a life risking pregnancy. Even if the surgery itself is in some cases risky, just because of the invasive nature of it compared to a vasectomy.

It gets down to the a legality that only applies to one gender. In the case of men, if you get a vasectomy you impact your spouse's potential reproductive opportunities--but it is practically unheard of for a man to need one or risk death.

In the case of women, if you get a tubal ligation you impact your spouse's potential reproductive opportunities--but you may be risking death or injury and 9 months of your life with another life inside you.

So whether or not a husband wants a veto power over a wife's decision, the potential risks to her person outweigh allowing for that.

You could try to make a case for good for goose/gander gambit, but for that.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think you are overthinking this. This isn't some double standard or doctors siding with women to control a man's reproductive rights....which I assume is the direction you are heading. This is for legal reasons only. Heck, plastic surgeons are getting spousal consent in droves now because of lawsuits. Implants aren't permanent either, which after 5 years, 90% of vasectomies are.

Pot stirrer you.
You may be right about my overthinking the issue but still I find it very intrusive practice. To sign a form to give power of attorney to a spouse to get approval to perform further potential life saving medical procedures on the spouse being operated on is one thing, but to try to ram a spousal signature down people's throats just so they can protect themselves from a lawsuit is quite another.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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You may be right about my overthinking the issue but still I find it very intrusive practice. To sign a form to give power of attorney to a spouse to get approval to perform further potential life saving medical procedures on the spouse being operated on is one thing, but to try to ram a spousal signature down people's throats just so they can protect themselves from a lawsuit is quite another.
You are comparing apples to q-tips here. Life saving procedure is not what I am talking about. A hysterectomy due to childbirth, fibroids or severe bleeding is one thing, a tubal ligation is another. One is literally medically necessary, while the other is for birth control. The first will require the MPOA to sign off on (unless it's a trauma situation) while the second really depends on the doctor. Most doctors, at least here in Texas require the spouse to sign off on a tubal ligation and it isn't for reasons you think, the risk of surgery. The patient has already signed the consent form. It is because they do not want a husband to come back on them and claim they didn't know their wives were having this done and therefore deciding the fate of their reproduction if you will. The same holds true for vasectomies to most doctors here. They don't want to deal with a wife coming back on them claiming they didn't know what their husband was doing....deciding their reproductive fate.
In your mind, you see it as invasive vs. non-invasive which on the surface is what it is. A tubal is way more risky than a vasectomy. That's not what it is about though. Both procedures render a person sterile. Emotions run HIGH when it comes to reproduction and no doctor in their right mind wants to expose themselves to potential lawsuits, regardless of merit.
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