Volume in vasectomies: Experts explain why so many men are getting the snip post Roe v. Wade

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Nov 12, 2022 at 09:15 AM

Reading time: 4 minutes

On 24 June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and while women across the nation mourned the loss of their reproductive rights, swathes of men headed to vasectomy clinics. Since the monumental constitutional right was revoked, doctors have seen an unprecedented increase in men seeking the snipping surgery. Will this landmark decision create a cultural shift in relation to men’s mentalities surrounding topics such as vasectomies and male contraception?

SCREENSHOT recently spoke with two US-based experts who specialise in vasectomy procedures. The primary goal was to ascertain if the Roe v. Wade decision truly had an impact on the number of males seeking out the surgery—and also, their professional insight as to whether or not men are taking greater responsibility when it comes to their reproductive health and that of their partners.

Has there been a heightened interest in vasectomies since the overturning of Roe v. Wade?

Shrikesh Majithia is the CEO of DrSnip, a vasectomy clinic based in Seattle. He explained how, even before the Supreme Court ruling, he saw an increased interest in the procedure. The expert stated: “The week of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) leak, we saw an immediate spike in inquiries. Then, when the reversal was officially announced, we saw a material increase and linear spike that jived with the overall increase in online searches for vasectomy.”

As time went on, this interest only continued to grow further, in turn leading to more of the surgical procedure taking place. “Coming into 2022, we saw a 20 per cent increase in volume over our peak year (pre-COVID) based on internal improvements. Then Roe v. Wade happened and we saw a further spike. Based on today’s forecast, we will finish the year 33 per cent over our peak year,” Majithia continued.

Dr David Robbins, another vasectomy specialist based in Florida, also saw a “significant increase” in inquiries after the ruling. In fact, on many occasions, he was forced to add additional appointment times during the day in order to cater to the number of patients. Men were truly going crazy for a vasectomy.

Was the Supreme Court ruling the only factor?

Dr Robbins also commented that the June 2022 decision was cited as the primary reason given by a number of his patients who were pursuing the surgery. “Patients inquiring about vasectomy procedures following the ruling certainly cited the decision as the main reason for seeking a procedure at the time. Patients who had previously been contemplating vasectomy were called to action directly from the decision of the supreme court,” he shared.

When asked about the primary reasons he believed vasectomies were gaining traction in the US, now more than ever, Majithia pointed to three specific catalysts as potential contributing factors. “The first,” he explained, is “men becoming more open about their health. In the last decade, we’ve seen a shift in men opening up and discussing their mental and physical health. This included more open discussion about vasectomy, which was previously not widely accepted and considered to be something ‘real men don’t do’.”

The expert continued: “The second is the #MeToo movement and a general growing awareness of women’s rights, indignities, and gender imbalances in everything from pay equity to family planning responsibilities. The last is, of course, the Roe reversal. With federal abortion rights abated, both men and women are exploring alternative methods of birth control, including vasectomy.”

Sharing the load

According to The Atlantic, shortly after the Supreme Court published its decision, gen Zers and millennials alike took to Twitter and other social media platforms to console one another, and to emphasise the need for men to begin taking a larger role in preventing unwanted pregnancies.

On Twitter, a user wrote, “It took all of this for men to even think about getting vasectomies despite the procedure being available all this time and much easier than the women’s alternative.” Meanwhile, another frustrated netizen simply stated: “The sexist history of birth control and the problematic perception of male birth control. Vasectomies prevent unwanted pregnancies.”

Even Etsy sellers got involved and began to sell T-shirts with the slogans “Vasectomies Prevent Abortions.” At the same time, TikTok was flooded with extravagant “vasectomy gift bags for your significant other” videos. But that rabbit hole is for another day.

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While it’s an integral element of youth culture to ignite change via the channels they’re comfortable with, there’s also a serious conversation that needs to be had within the mainstream media—one that all men should take into consideration. Will this recent desecration of reproductive rights push men to stand in solidarity, both in protest and practice?

Of course, in previous generations, vasectomies were depicted as a stripping of one’s manhood rather than a safe and productive way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Now, however, there is the potential for greater awareness and information. The New York Times reported that, while historically there has been a default social expectation for birth control to lie with the woman, this is no longer the case.

Dr Robbins mirrored this perspective, commenting on how vasectomies are growing in popularity as a means of permanent birth control largely due to greater mainstream acceptance—through public awareness campaigns, vasectomy specialist websites, and, of course, the internet.

And although it’s happening against the backdrop of highly oppressive regulations, an attitude shift in regards to men taking greater responsibility for family planning is an important takeaway.

Will the overturning of Roe v. Wade have a long-lasting impact?

There is, however, still a long way to go, and with some men using this new surge in vasectomy popularity as a bizarre and rather offensive dating strategy, it’s not looking overly promising. From tweets joking that “getting a vasectomy is the new 6-foot-4” to Bumble profiles sporting “vasectomy complete” statements, there is a worry that some individuals may not be taking this conversation as seriously as they should.

There have also been worries that, while we are seeing a current heightened interest, these figures may begin to flatten as we move forward. What’s imperative is that we keep the conversation going. The male contraceptive pill, for example, is another key element that should even out the insurmountable burden women face when it comes to reproductive health.

While there has been extensive research and scientific testing in hopes of supplying a male birth control pill to the public, no such product has yet been approved.

Majithia culminated his thoughts with a final statement: “In the US, for every one vasectomy performed we complete two tubal ligations (the female equivalent). Comparably, in the UK and Canada, those figures are reversed. This contrast would be laughable if it wasn’t so offensive to women.”

“On balance, a vasectomy is less invasive, less risky, and less costly than tubal ligation. We need to do better. (Also, it’s called “labour” for a reason.) And so, while we’re talking about the growing popularity of vasectomy, this is akin to talking about a ten-yard gain from our five-yard line. There is still a whole field to cover,” he concluded.

While we should still continue to fight and protest for the right to abortions, encouraging men to take on a greater role within the reproductive healthcare conversation can only be a step in the right direction.

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