Health & Wellness

As debate over reproductive rights continues, vasectomies increase

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It’s a procedure that takes about 15 minutes and studies and anecdotal evidence show vasectomies are growing in popularity.

“Not only do we have people more people coming in to learn about it, we're having more people actually getting the procedure done. And even at a younger age, which is pretty consistent with some of the data that's out there,” said Dr. Jagan Kansal, an urologist and founder of Down There Urology in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.

Often called male birth control, Dr. Kansal said his practice has seen a greater demand for vasectomies since June 2022, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had since 1973 established a federally protected right to abortion in the United States.

“I think, in Illinois, since we haven't lost the reproductive rights, we are still seeing an increase, a dramatic increase, in our vasectomy volume and I think it's more just because the conversations are coming up and people are worried,” Kansal said.

According to this report by the IJIR, a sexual medicine peer-reviewed journal, there’s been a 35% increase in requests for vasectomy consultations compared to the year before the Supreme Court ruling.

“I think what it has done is really put reproductive rights on the forefront of people's minds,” Kansal said.

The study, published in February, also found, “an increase in vasectomy consultation visits was seen post-Dobbs, especially among younger men and childless men.”

“It's actually happening at an earlier age now just because the conversation is coming up. They know they're done having kids and what's the point of waiting now,” Kansal said.

That’s the case for Hari Pandya and his wife, who are expecting their third baby any day now.

“She's giving birth to the third one, and, you know, the least I can do is, you know, take this for the team,” Pandya said.

About to turn 38 years old, Pandya is getting a vasectomy later this summer. He says he and his wife weighed the pros and cons of multiple birth control options and all the talk about reproductive rights helped move him toward this decision.

“Now you see it on the news, you've seen on social media. And we've talked about it amongst friends now. So it's definitely something that was discussed after everything came out in the news last year,” Pandya said, referring the Supreme Court decision.

Pandya admits to being a little nervous.

“Anytime you talk about having a procedure down there, of course, as a man you're a little reluctant, but, you know, he (Kansal) reassured it's a very quick procedure. Post-op, it's about 48 hours and you should be back to normal,” Pandya said.

Dr. Kansal says misconceptions about vasectomies are often what fuel the fear.

“All we're doing is creating a blockage in a pipe where the sperm can't get out. So we're not changing anything with testicular function. We're not changing anything with sexual function,” Kansal said.

Vasectomies are considered reversible, but Kansal said that does require a more complicated surgery.

“We tell patients all the time going into a vasectomy, you should obviously consider it as permanent. But the nice thing is if there's any change in circumstances, it is reversible,” Kansal said.

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