When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, it was a shocking blow to women’s bodily autonomy. A handful of states—most of them in the Bible Belt or Midwest—fast tracked laws and bills to effectively ban and criminalize abortions. In the wake of this news, young men have been doing what older men have been doing for decades: getting vasectomies.
In the months following the SCOTUS ruling, the Austin Urology Institute reports having seen a 50 percent increase in vasectomies. Dr. Doug Stein, a urology surgeon in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., area, said registrations tripled after the ruling, with many patients under the age of 30. To keep up with high demand, clinics in Missouri and Iowa are offering free vasectomies.
It’s great to see men being more proactive and responsible with birth control, especially when women’s health and bodily autonomy are under attack. But the key to truly being responsible with your health is being well-versed in your decisions. Don’t just sign up for a vasectomy because of that joke from The Office.
Here’s a thing to note about vasectomies: Medical professionals consider them a permanent form of birth control, even if reversals have a somewhat high rate of success. A study of 1,000 men who had reversals in under a year found 97 percent were able to produce sperm in their ejaculate, and 76 percent were able to achieve pregnancy with their partner. The effectiveness drops the longer you wait. Eighty-eight percent of men who waited between three and eight years achieved sperm in their semen, and 53 percent achieved pregnancy with their partner.
While some insurance providers cover vasectomies and some places give them away for free, most providers do not cover reversals, which can range from $5,000 to $14,000. Bottom line, if you’re gonna get that snip-snip and are entertaining the possibility of having children, talk it through with your doctor and your partner (if you have one). And don’t forget, you can always freeze your sperm if you need to make this whole process a lot less costly and more stress-free.