Check out Vasectomy

Women rightly complain about low contraceptive use among men, and that too little research goes into improved contraception for men. But here is one simple and safe method that deserves more attention, in all countries.

By Richard Grossman MD

Sixteen years ago the Durango Herald published my column “Do your Partner’s Vasectomy”; it got lots of laughs on April Fool’s Day! Unfortunately, the latest news on male sterilization is not so funny.

There is some recent good news, fortunately. In some states, men are rushing to get permanently sterilized because of the recent Supreme Court decision about abortion. My experience, however, is that they will be moving a little more slowly after this minor procedure. I was sore for a couple days after my vasectomy, many years ago.

Remember that vasectomy is much safer and easier than a tubal ligation, the female sterilization procedure. Male sterilization is done with local anesthesia and is finished in just 10 or 15 minutes. There are only two drawbacks to vasectomy. While female sterilization is effective immediately, it takes a couple of months after the procedure before a man starts shooting blanks. The other drawback is that many men are frightened to have it done.

It is interesting to note the countries where vasectomy is most popular. The top five are: South Korea, Australia, Bhutan, the USA and New Zealand. Bhutan? Yes! Perhaps it is because that little country’s government has promoted this simple surgery. Bhutan has had mobile vasectomy camps which bring the service to villagers. Furthermore, men tend to take responsibility for family planning in this enlightened country.

The bad news is that we seem to have reached “peak vasectomy”. Worldwide, the maximum number of couples who use vasectomy for protection from unintended pregnancy was reached in 2001. That year, 44 million couples worldwide were safeguarded by this simple procedure. The latest figures show a sad decline to just 17 million couples who are dependent on vasectomy.

What can be done to bring back vasectomy? One group is doing its best to spread the good word all over the world. World Vasectomy Day,, has worked in several countries to introduce people—especially men—to this simple surgery. They claim: “World Vasectomy Day is the largest male focused family planning movement ever”. WVD was started by a New York film producer, Jonathan Stack, and urologist Doug Stein. Together, they have built an amazing crusade not only to do the surgery, but also to train doctors to perform the procedure.

Stein is a master of the No Scalpel Vasectomy technique. It uses a couple of special instruments that make it possible to perform this delicate procedure with tiny incisions. Because it involves less cutting, NSV has fewer complications than older methods.

Dr. Charles Ochieng at the International Conference on Family Planning. Photo: Richard Grossman

Vasectomy would be ideal for couples in developing countries who want to stop childbearing, since it doesn’t require a fancy facility. Dr. Charles Ochieng of Nairobi, Kenya has become an evangelist for vasectomy. He had his own vasectomy years ago, and has done hundreds since then. An award-winning family practice doctor, he is devoted to providing vasectomies and teaching other physicians the NSV technique. He learned the NSV technique while spending time in Florida with Dr. Stein.

I met Ochieng at an international family planning convention in Kigali, Rwanda. He told me that he even offered to do his father’s vasectomy! His dad has 3 wives (polygamy is legal in Kenya) and many children. He was sad that his father turned down the gift. For some cultures, a large family is a status symbol, especially for men.

Now, as restrictions on women’s reproductive health increase in the USA, I hope more men will take this small, but important, step to prevent unintended pregnancies.


© Richard Grossman MD, 2023

Check out more text by Richard, see site (beware of exact spelling), available here

Do you wish to seek funding for research and outreach on population and sustainability? Check out the GAIA Foundation here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 thoughts on “Check out Vasectomy

  1. After reading “The Limits To Growth” in 1972, I understood that overpopulation was a root cause of many of the world’s problems. After moving to Oregon in 1975, I began the search for a doctor who would perform a vasectomy on an unmarried 23 year old who had no children. It took three tries, but I finally found a willing doctor and got it done. The Country Health Dept, paid all but $10 of the fee. Best $10 I ever spent.

    Years later, I endowed vasectomy funds through 3 Planned Parenthood offices in Oregon and California. I also make yearly contributions to the wonderful World Vasectomy Day you discussed in the article. I feel it’s important for men to take control of a couple’s fertility as it’s much easier than a hysterectomy and a lot less costly.

  2. Wonderful, Paul! I am glad you share my concern for male responsibility–and for the Earth!
    I haven’t heard of vasectomy funds before. Do you know how many men you have supported in having the operation?

    1. The initial fund was set up in Eugene, OR in the early 90s. As of the first decade, they had performed several dozen, but I’ve not kept up with the total numbers of all three funds. I still give to the first one in Eugene, but not the LA or Pasadena funds since they did not communicate with me as well. I do like WVD, though. Those folks are very good. I give to them every year.

  3. Just say for yourself, “United Nations for vasectomy. Economists for vasectomy. Joint faiths for vasectomy”. And you can why it will never happen on a big scale.

    1. Indeed. “The Customer Base is a group of customers who repeatedly purchase the goods or services of a business. These customers are a main source of revenue for a company. Companies with a Customer Base consisting mainly of large companies may increase their Customer Base by pursuing small and mid-size companies. From a legal point of view, the Customer Base is an accessible collection of confidential data on entities buying goods or using services of a particular entrepreneur, of measurable economic value. A Customer Base may be traded, in particular, it may be sold.”
      From wiki on Customer Base (a mysteriously brief and poorly referenced article – but effective, particularly in reminding us that Customer Bases may be bought and sold, so valuable are they.).
      De-population is not good for any Customer Base of any kind or any size. And it is not only commercial “private” entities that have Customers. State-funded enterprises do too – i.e. the UN and all federal or government “public” organizations. So “Socialist” and “Communist” states have Customer Bases too. So wiki should change “purchase” to another word, maybe. Though orignially “purchase” meant only “to obtain or receive as due in any way, including through merit or suffering; and the specific sense of “acquire or secure by expenditure of money or its equivalent, pay money for, buy” is attested only from mid-14c., and the word continued to be used for “to get by conquest in war, obtain as booty” up to 17c.”
      I must say, that when governments “purchase” clients for “welfare services” by exacting taxes from them, the old sense of “obtain as booty” is not inappropriate ……….
      I am not decrying vasectomy – but it is not going to attract either capitalist or socialist support, is it? People will blame “religion” – but this is avoiding the problem. It is not religion that fails to command people to live – and breed – within their means, but Consumer Credit and its “socialist” equivalent.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.