World Vasectomy Day helps men take an active role in family planning

By Michael H. Broder, PhD
Published November 13, 2017

Key Takeaways

November 17 is World Vasectomy Day and men the world over will be stepping up and lying down—on an exam table—to share responsibility for family planning.

The organizers are calling World Vasectomy Day 2017 “the largest male-focused family planning event in history.” Over 1,200 providers in more than 50 countries will join in a 24-hour “vasectomy-athon,” during which medical experts will “e-travel from country to country conversing with vasectomy providers, advocates for male involvement in family planning and the men who choose a vasectomy as an act of love.”

This year marks the fifth annual World Vasectomy Day, with Mexico hosting the event at the Monument to the Revolution in the heart of Mexico City. World Vasectomy Day events will be live-streamed at www.worldvasectomyday.org/livestream.

Each year, more than 525,000 men in the United States undergo vasectomy, a safe, effective, and permanent method of contraception with an overall success rate of greater than 99% in pooled studies. “Men older than 30 years in a stable, committed relationship appear to be the best candidates for vasectomy,” according to doctors from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill writing in American Family Physician.

The preferred technique is the no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV), developed in China in 1974 and first used in the United States in 1984. Whereas the older incisional technique uses a scalpel to make one or two incisions in the scrotum, the NSV uses a sharply pointed hemostat to puncture the skin, making for a shorter procedure and reducing bleeding, bruising, hematoma, infection, and pain.

World Vasectomy Day was founded by documentary filmmaker Jonathan Stack and urologist Doug Stein, MD, who met when filming the documentary “The Vasectomist.” Dr. Stein's practice has focused on vasectomy since 2000. In association with No-Scalpel Vasectomy International, Dr. Stein has developed vasectomy programs in the Philippines, Haiti, and Kenya. As of 2016, Dr. Stein has performed more than 39,000 vasectomies and 1,680 vasectomy reversals. Dr. Stein joined Stack in the effort to organize the first World Vasectomy Day in 2013, and the two have shared the mission ever since.

“Vasectomies may not be right for everyone,” Stack said, “but for those who are certain they don’t want more children and are equally certain they’re going to be sexually active with women who are still fertile, it’s the most secure option available. So, regardless of whether you ultimately choose this option, take the time to consider it.”

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