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Question from anonymous on 7/31/2013:

My husband and I have been married for 8 years. We have 4 children and have always wanted 4 children. As of now wouldn't mind having more but due to our finances have decided it would be best to stop with our 4. We have never used any birth control only NFP. We have never discussed using birth control. Until now, our 4th child is 5 weeks old and my husband strongly wants to get a vasectomy. I am 100% against this. He is waiting for my blessing but I do not want to give it. I want to try NFP again but he does not feel it will work. We were practicing it when I got pregnant with my our 4th so he has lost confidence in it. He is a cradled Catholic and I am a convert. We are both strong in our faith and never miss mass. I am not one to cause confrontation and want this issue to go away but I know it won't. I cannot convince his to not do this how do I get him to change his mind. We have a wonderful marriage and I don't want this to cause heartache. What do I do?? I am very stuck. Please help.

Answer by Judie Brown on 8/4/2013:

Dear Anonymous

I sent your question to Anthony Dardano, MD. Here is his response:

Having been an obstetrician/gynecologist for over 40 years I certainly understand your situation as I have had countless women over the years asking this very question. First and foremost I must state that the moral principles involved here are binding based on Natural Law and upheld by the teaching authority of the Church. Therefore, the voluntary use of artificial contraception or any sterilization procedure (vasectomy or tubal ligation) which has the sole primary intent of preventing pregnancy, can never be justified, no matter what the circumstances might be. It is human nature to try to rationalize justification for what one knows to be wrong when they are placed in a situation where they feel the rules can be bent to accommodate their particular circumstance. Moral principles are like tree branches for if you bend them far enough, they break (which would be clearly the case here). Furthermore, being a surgical procedure, permanent sterilization also falls under the category of "bodily mutilation" in that the procedure puts one at an unnecessary risk since it is performed without a valid ethical indication. Having reaffirmed that any form of artificial contraception or sterilization is not permitted, what then can one do? As stated above I am not insensitive to your situation and there are moral solutions to your dilemma. There is an over the counter ovulation predictor which using a morning urine sample on an indicator stick can accurately predict for you your most fertile days. This is morally acceptable and a wonderful adjunct to NFP. This along with sincere prayer, some self sacrifice and mutual understanding of the issue can and will see you through this as it has done for countless patients of mine.

May God bless you and keep you faithful to His teachings.

Anthony N Dardano, MD, FACS, FACOG


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