Stop Blaming Doctors for Babies Born After Vasectomy

vasectomyIf you've ever tried to put a figure on how much your kid is worth, here's a new way to think of it. A couple who got pregnant after the husband had undergone a vasectomy is suing his doctor for $650,000.

That's how much Scott and Donnita Bassinger they say it will cost to raise their son to adulthood and send him to college -- all of which they put at the doctor's feet. They say the doctor didn't tell them that Scott's tubes were thin and difficult to dissect, and they blame the doctor for forcing Donnita to go through with a risky pregnancy at 42. And with that blame goes my sympathy for them.


Sure, the doctor didn't do a perfect vasectomy. But he wasn't in the bedroom putting a gun to the Bassingers' head and telling them to have sex. They made their son, not the doctor.

I say this not without a sense of foreboding. I understand better than most that the point of a vasectomy is to protect yourself from future progeny. My husband had one several years ago, after we'd decided once and for all that we were "one and done" as parents. If if failed, I'd be angry, and freaking out about money.

But before we chose the vasectomy, we did a lot of research into the various forms of birth control. We knew we were done. There was no need for a temporary method. Besides tubal ligation, the vasectomy was one of the most permanent forms, making it the best option for us.

The other thing we cared most about? How fail safe each method was. Condoms break. The birth control pill was quoted as around 97 percent effective. Vasectomy was one of the best. Its failure rate is just .02 to 2 percent. We took the leap, and so far it's worked for us. But we've known better than to ignore the possibility of failure -- even the semen test isn't failsafe. We're aware that the only truly fail safe method of birth control is abstinence. And as long as we're not willing to go that route (hopefully we never will be), it's our cross to bear.

It's also our responsibility to follow through with our actions. Although I'm no advocate for abortion as birth control method, if Donnita was truly at medical risk, she had that option open to her. The decision to carry the pregnancy to term was the Bassingers' alone, as was the decision not to give him up for adoption.

Unless there is clear mismanagement on behalf of a physician, is the responsibility for raising a post-vasectomy baby really the doctor's?


Image via Public Domain Photos/Flickr

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