Are you an informed decision maker? You probably are if you are an accident-free car driver. Because good driving involves high speed processing of enormous amounts of data, together with quick and virtually reflexive decision-making. Muddy the process with alcohol or exhaustion and what happens? KaPow! (Batman lingo).
Blocked and Baffled
I was very moved this week by the decision-making prowess revealed by three couples I cared for. They all wanted children. All three men had older vasectomies, ranging from 20 to 30 years of age (that’s the vasectomy age, not the guys’ ages!). They had seen at least two urologists apiece before seeing me, trying to decide whether they should reverse the vasectomy or pursue sperm retrieval and IVF-ICSI.
One man who had never conceived before had an elevated FSH level (suggestive of potentially impaired sperm production). He was told to forget about having biological children. Another, in his 60s, was told that he’s probably not making sperm anymore. The third was told that his surgical risk was too high after having had a heart attack at a younger age. All men were as healthy as horses now. Not a single urologist offered them a vasectomy reversal.
I met with each of these couples at length and reviewed my published experience reversing older vasectomies. I provided them with hard data regarding the benefits, risks and outcomes concerning both reversal and sperm retrieval with IVF-ICSI. I reminded them that there are several paths to having kids and that they must decide which path is best for them.
Method to Madness
Funny thing is, informed decision-making is not a random thing. After data input, it actually has several basic common elements that make it so effective:
- A defined outcome. Knowing what you want to achieve in the end helps to effectively filter information that you receive.
- Involvement of belief systems. You got where you are from experience; don’t ignore it. But realize that it can hold you back or set you free.
- Paying attention to “gut.” The inner voice is trusted and calming which can reduce doubt and rationalization and open up possibilities and alternatives.
All three couples chose to have vasectomy reversal, and I reversed all three vasectomies this week. They all went beautifully. Sperm was found everywhere, right where we wanted it to be, in every case. In fact, each vasectomy appeared far “younger” than it’s stated age, which is great for the patient…and outcomes: Return of sperm to ejaculate is expected to be in the high 90+% in each case.
After each procedure, I applauded the couple’s decision to reverse the vasectomy. In response, they all told a similar tale of how they came to choose this path: Appreciative of all of the factual information I gave them, they examined their budget, their goals and their “gut,” and chose vasectomy reversal. Once fully informed, the decision was as simple as a Sunday drive on a country road. In the words of author Henry Miller: “What does it matter how one comes by the truth so long as one pounces upon it and lives by it?”