Growing number of American men choose vasectomy

Growing number of American men choose vasectomy

The Rise of Vasectomies: Men’s Increasing Role in Reproductive Health


Vasectomies are on the rise in the United States, with rates surging by more than one-quarter in the past decade. This significant increase, reported in a recent study, highlights men’s growing role in reproductive health and family planning.

According to the analysis of commercial health claims data, the U.S. vasectomy rate increased by 26% between 2014 and 2021. Interestingly, all regions in the United States, except the Northeast, showed increased vasectomy rates. Although the overall numbers of men undergoing vasectomies are still relatively low, with approximately 4% having undergone the procedure, doctors anticipate a continued increase in demand following the 2022 Supreme Court decision that abolished the national right to abortion.

Dr. Stanton Honig, division chief for reproductive and sexual medicine at Yale School of Medicine, believes that men’s increased interest in vasectomy is due to their greater involvement in reproductive health and family planning, particularly when they have completed their desired number of children. He states, “This recent study points to the fact that men are taking more of a role in reproductive health and family planning, especially when they are finished having children.”

To conduct the study, researchers analyzed health insurance claims data of privately insured men in the United States aged 18 to 64. They discovered that the percentage of men undergoing vasectomies annually increased from 0.43% in 2014 to 0.54% in 2021. The research also revealed that the relative increases were greatest among men with no children (61%), men with older wives (41%), single men (41%), and young men aged 18 to 24 (37%). Interestingly, men with two or more children also continue to choose vasectomy as a popular option. Furthermore, it was observed that rural areas experienced greater increases in vasectomy rates compared to urban areas.

Dr. Monica Dragoman, system director of the complex family planning division at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, suggests that men’s motivations for undergoing vasectomy are deeply personal and multifactorial. She asserts, “The reasons can include concerns for their partner and fear about having kids they don’t want. Unfortunately, there are few highly effective methods other than vasectomy available to men.”

One of the reasons behind the surge in vasectomy rates is the relative ease and convenience of the procedure. Dr. Honig explains, “A vasectomy is a minimally invasive, office-based procedure and takes about 10 minutes to perform. The patient walks in and out, as it is done under local anesthesia.” This accessibility, coupled with the increasing perception of vasectomy as a reversible procedure, has contributed to the growing popularity of the procedure.

However, Dr. Dragoman cautions that men should not rely on an easy reversal, especially if they have had their vasectomy for a long time. She cautions, “Following vasectomy, successful pregnancy following a reversal is a possibility. However, this likelihood decreases over time, and there is no guarantee of pregnancy. People pursuing vasectomy with the idea of reversing it when they are ready for childbearing may not be suitable candidates for the procedure.”

Despite the rise in vasectomy rates, tubal ligation remains more common among women than vasectomy among men. Dr. Honig and Dr. Dragoman attribute this to ongoing abortion restrictions, stating, “Everyone is feeling the impact of abortion restrictions. On one hand, I think it is a positive thing that some men are being more proactive about pregnancy prevention. However, this method remains underutilized compared to permanent female contraception, even with the relative increases in demand for the procedure.”

The surge in vasectomies has gained enough recognition to be accompanied by awareness campaigns, with some timed around popular events like the March Madness basketball tournament. Dr. Raheem, the senior researcher of the study, highlights, “Because men are watching TV, they have more rest time, so they choose to have it done around March Madness.”

However, Dr. Raheem also acknowledges that the number of vasectomies could have been even higher during the study period if not for a nationwide shortage of urologists available to provide counseling and perform the procedure. He emphasizes the importance of being proactive in offering vasectomy counseling and services to meet the growing demand of patients.

In conclusion, the increasing rates of vasectomies in the United States reflect men’s evolving role in reproductive health. With men taking a more proactive approach to family planning, the popularity of vasectomy continues to rise. While the procedure offers convenience and is perceived as reversible, it is crucial for men to understand the potential limitations and consider alternative contraception methods. As society navigates changing abortion restrictions, it will be interesting to see how men’s participation in sharing contraceptive responsibilities evolves in the long term.



Testosterone is a chemical found only in men.

Answer: False

The new study was published recently in the journal Urology.

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Planned Parenthood has more information about vasectomy.

SOURCES: Omer Raheem, MD, assistant professor, surgery-urology, University of Chicago School of Medicine; Stanton Honig, MD, division chief, reproductive and sexual medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Monica Dragoman, MD, MPH, system director, Complex Family Planning Division, Raquel and Jaime Gilinski department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Urology, June 21, 2023