Posted on Aug 24, 2023, 7 p.m.
A growing number of men are declining fatherhood and opting to have vasectomies to ensure they do not become a parent, as this surgical procedure is permanent male contraception. According to recent research from the University of Chicago published in the journal Urology, there has been a surge in the procedure over the last decade.
The researchers investigated if there would be increased interest in vasectomies due to a decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The researchers noted a relative increase in the procedure between 2014-2021, and suggest that this indicates the pressing need for doctors and healthcare providers to be more proactive regarding comprehensive counseling and accommodations for those seeking permanent contraception options.
The researchers calculated the annual vasectomy rate among men between the ages of 18-64 years old in America using data from commercial health insurance claims. Their analysis revealed that the percentage of all male patients undergoing the procedure in a given year has notably changed, increasing from 0.427% in 2014 to 0.537% in 2021. This represents about 4% of men in the general public. Although it is still low, the researchers believe the clear increase of roughly 26% means that urologists should be prepared for more frequent family planning counseling with patients.
“We are anticipating increased consultations for vasectomy in our clinics,” says senior study author urologist Omer Raheem, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery-Urology. “It is essential for healthcare providers to be aware of these trends and proactively offer vasectomy counseling and services to meet the growing needs of patients.”
Diving a bit deeper further investigation revealed that the absolute changes were most significant among men with three or more children, those with two children, and those with a partner under the age of 35. However, the changes were more prominent among men with no children, men with a partner over the age of 35, single men, and more alarmingly men between the ages of 18-24 years old which speaks to the increasing popularity among those who previously may not have opted for this permanent option.
"Google Trends analyses, media outlets and retrospective reviews of billing and electronic medical records from academic hospitals have suggested even greater interest in vasectomies after the overturning of Roe v. Wade," wrote the study's authors.
"While survey and health insurance claims data from 2022 are not yet available to directly study this relationship, our findings offer valuable context on permanent contraceptive utilization in men in the years leading up to the landmark decision," Raheem said.
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