Rising vasectomy rates post-Roe
On June 24, 2022 the US Supreme Court issued a decision, known as the Dobbs decision, effectively overturning Roe v Wade, which granted the constitutional right to abortion. In the past year since, the conversation surrounding reproductive health has been at the top of mind for many Americans. When we think and talk about reproductive healthcare and reproductive justice, we are often honed in on women. However, there is a conversation to be had involving men as well. Since the Dobbs decision, many men are making the decision to take birth control into their own hands and get a vasectomy. Let’s dive into the ins and outs of vasectomies, our new favorite form of birth control.
So, what is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure for people with pensies that involves cutting or blocking the “vas deferens,” the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. What happens during a vasectomy? The doctor makes one or two small incisions in the scrotum to access the vas deferens. The tubes are then either cut and sealed or tied off to prevent sperm from making their way out. A vasectomy does not affect the production of sperm, but it prevents them from mixing with semen, which is ejaculated as cum. After a vasectomy you still come, just minus the sperm.
Vasectomies are typically performed under anesthesia, and only take 15 to 30 minutes. Post-vasectomy, it is normal to experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the scrotum, but these symptoms generally subside within a few days or weeks!
It is important to note that a vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of contraception. While you can reverse a vasectomy, this is not always successful, and the chances of restoring fertility vary (more on that below!).
Can a vasectomy be reversed?
It is true, vasectomies can indeed be reversed. If you change your mind and decide you want children, or if you are using a vasectomy as temporary birth control, a doctor can reverse it. According to WebMD, “during a vasectomy, your doctor cuts or blocks the tubes, called the vas deferens, which carry sperm from your testes to your penis. In a vasectomy reversal, your doctor has to rejoin these tubes back together so that sperm can reach the semen you ejaculate during orgasm.” It is also important to remember that sometimes a vasectomy reversal does not work. The effectiveness of vasectomy reversals hovers around 90-95%. Vasectomies can be reversed more than once, but the success rate does go down each time.
What percentage of vasectomies fail over time?
Vasectomies are the most effective form of birth control. Most vasectomy failures happen in the first 6 months after the procedure. According to Healthline, just 2 out of 1,000 women will get pregnant in the first year after their partner has a vasectomy. Less than 1 percent of vasectomies will need to be repeated, staggeringly low numbers. The late failure rate for vasectomies is between 0.04–0.08%. Yes, you read that right.
Are more men really getting more vasectomies?
Many doctors say a growing number of men are asking for vasectomies post-Roe. The International Journal of Impotence Research conducted a peer-reviewed study on “men presenting for vasectomy consultation in the Pre-Dobbs era compared to the Post-Dobbs era.” The conclusion of their study was that “there was a 35.0% increase in vasectomy consultation requests and a 22.4% increase in vasectomy consultations from Pre-Dobbs to Post-Dobbs.”
Preventing unwanted pregnancies
All of this information begs the question: Why does the burden fall on women alone to prevent unwanted pregnancy? Birth control methods, with the exception of condoms, are catered towards women’s use. Our hormones and bodies are constantly bearing the burden of bearing children, or preventing it. And, none of these methods are nearly as effective as vasectomies. While vasectomies have a higher success rate, they are so much less common.
Getting a vasectomy, or the female equivalent of getting your tubes tied, is the closest to fool-proof way of preventing unwanted pregnancy, and therefore abortion. There are many other birth control methods that are very effective if used properly. Condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, and implants are all common and efficient forms of contraception.
Why are men getting vasectomies?
We spoke with one couple who shared why a vasectomy was the right choice for them.
“We have always cared about safe reproductive health, and as we’ve gotten older we’ve realized that biological children aren’t in the cards for us. Rather than have my wife get another IUD that could have more implications for her, we decided that a vasectomy was the right move for us at this stage in our lives.”
We also perused Reddit to gain a better understanding of why men choose to get vasectomies.
“I don’t have to worry about pregnancy and my partner doesn’t have to use mood impacting medication.”
“I’d rather live with the regret of not having a kid than the regret of having one. The latter is more expensive and more f****d up.”
“I turned 50 this year and got my vasectomy at 23. Never regretted that decision and am super happy with my child free life. I’ve been married since I was 20, and we’re still together and happy. Recovery for me was easy. I had it done on a Friday and I was roofing on Monday, up and down ladders all day carrying supplies. The pain only lasted a day or two.”
“I think our society seems to push a lot of expectations around having biological kids, but I know I could always adopt.”
“I’d do it for a significant other not to have to take any pills.”
“A vasectomy is on the table, why not. I have two kids already. The only thing that’s stopping me is my wife and I haven’t fully closed the door on whether or not we are done for good. But when the time comes, I have no problem with the idea of getting snipped.”