- Medical professionals say they have seen an increase in interest in vasectomies since the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision that has limited abortion access.
- Experts say vasectomies are a simple and effective procedure that is usually reversible.
- However, they add that a person shouldn’t undergo the procedure unless they are certain about not having any more children.
In the wake of last month’s Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade and limited abortion access, scores of men took to the internet in response.
As a result, the word “vasectomy” has reportedly been trending on search engines and an increased interest in the procedure has been noticed in medical facilities.
“Yes, I have seen an uptick in people contacting our office with questions and a few have scheduled appointments, but there has not been a huge surge as of yet.” Dr. Paul Thompson, a urologist at the Thompson Clinic and Launch Medical in Texas and Los Angeles, told Healthline.
Dr. Gregory Quayle, a urologist and advisory board member to Canadian men’s health website Phoenix, has seen a similar increase.
“I did not see any spikes in vasectomies. However, I noticed a slightly bigger interest in this procedure,” Quayle told Healthline. “Usually, I get four to five requests per week. And last week, I got eight. While this doesn’t seem like much, it’s a significant increase in the number of people wanting to ensure that they can no longer have children.”
Dr. Ramy Abou Ghayda, a urologist and chief medical officer for at-home sperm testing and freezing company Legacy, said his company has also seen a rise in interest.
“Legacy has seen an undeniable uptick in vasectomy interest since the overturn, including an increase in clicks and transactions,” Ghayda told Healthline.
He added the company “has also experienced more and more clients inquiring about sperm freezing in connection with vasectomies as well as about how sperm storage would be affected by the [Supreme Court decision].”
A vasectomy prevents sperm from being released during ejaculation.
During the surgery, a tube called the vas deferens is cut or blocked. The vas deferens is the duct that carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra.
A vasectomy is theoretically reversible, although that’s not always possible. Experts say those considering a vasectomy should probably only do so if they’re certain they don’t want children at all or any additional children.
Vasectomies are usually performed by urologists, who focus on the urinary tract and male reproductive health.
There are two common types of vasectomies: Conventional and no-scalpel. Both usually involve a local anesthetic, but in some cases, a hospital visit under general anesthesia may also be advised.
A vasectomy isn’t immediately effective as existing sperm need to clear out of the system, which can take up to 3 months. Experts say it’s important to follow up with a urologist to check on sperm counts as time goes on.
No one should assume the procedure has been effective until getting definitive results from a doctor. A vasectomy doesn’t typically have any lasting effects on sexual activity, orgasm, or performance.
“I am not one to question what is in my patient’s best interests, but [a vasectomy] is a relatively cost-effective and usually reversible procedure,” Thompson said. “For people looking for an effective birth control measure that is minimally invasive and relatively simple, it is a great option. I have always encouraged people who are considering it if it is in their best interest.”
Quayle said vasectomy surgery is “quick and simple” and a procedure that can usually be reversed.
“However, it is considered a permanent form of contraception and should only be considered if you are sure that you do not want to father any more children,” Quayle said. “The vasectomy reversal procedure is called vasovasostomy. The success rate of vasovasostomy is up to 90 to 95 percent. As a rule, vasectomy reversal is often more successful with microsurgery as this allows precise reconnection of the cut ends of the genital tract.”
“However, this should not be considered a fertility switcher because there is a 5 to 10 percent chance that you will never be able to have kids,” he noted.
Vincent Amodio, the founder and chief executive officer of Florida-based multispecialty Icon Medical Centers, told Healthline the reversal is also surgical and success rates can vary.
“Each vas deferens is reconnected by the surgeon during the procedure,” Amodio said. “When a vasectomy is reversed, sperm are still in the semen, which means you might be able to get your partner pregnant.
“Rates of vasectomy reversal pregnancy range from 30 to 90 percent, depending on the procedure,” he added. “Success in reversing a vasectomy is influenced by the amount of time that has passed since the procedure, the age of the partner, the experience and training of the surgeon, and any previous fertility problems.”
Ghayda said that men do have other options in case they change their minds later.
“Vasectomies are a great option for reducing the chance of pregnancies, but since they are not always reversible, men interested in the procedure should also consider freezing their sperm through a process called sperm cryopreservation to secure the possibility of starting a family in the future,” Ghavda said.