Men racing to get vasectomies after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

A marcher holds up a sign referencing vasectomies during the “Defend Abortion Access” march from Daley Plaza on Oct. 2, 2021, in Chicago.

Evan Moore

The Charlotte Observer

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively restricting access to abortion in many states, more males have inquired about getting vasectomies.

Searches for the phrase “vasectomy near me” are at an all-time high in North Carolina, where abortion is still legal. it is the 19th most popular state for those searches, according to Google Trends.

Requests for vasectomies at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio went from three to four per day to 90 after the Supreme Court ruling, a spokesperson for the hospital told NBC News.

Dr. Christian Hettinger, a urologist in Kansas City Urology Care in Missouri, told NBC affiliate KSHB that calls to his office regarding vasectomies had increased by 900% since the ruling.

Ohio and Missouri were one of the many states that had “trigger-bans” for abortion, designed to outlaw the procedure after the Roe decision was overturned.

Although vasectomies are nearly 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, it is considered a permanent form of birth control, according to the Mayo Clinic, meaning males who get them should be certain they don’t want to father a child in the future.

If you or someone you know is considering a vasectomy, here’s what to know about the procedure.

Are vasectomies reversible?

Vasectomy reversals are up to 95% effective, but the efficacy depends on the type of reversal performed and the age of the initial procedure, according to Stanford Health Care.

During a vasectomy reversal, surgery is performed to reconnect the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm. The procedure is often more successful with microsurgery, a type of surgery that requires a microscope, Stanford Health Care says.

Vasovasostomy procedures, where the ends of the vas deferens are stitched together are generally more successful than Vasoepididymostomies, where a bypass around the blockage is created to reconnect the vas deferens, according to Stanford Health Care.

The age of a vasectomy can also play a role in how effective a reversal is, but patients who have undergone reversals decades after vasectomies have been successful, Stanford Health Care says.

Reversals usually take three to four hours and are outpatient procedures, which means patients do not need to stay overnight in the hospital.

Though most vasectomy reversals are effective, they can cost anywhere from $3,000-$15,000 and are usually not covered by health insurance companies, according to Verywell Health, a health information website

Are there any risks associated with vasectomies?

Since reversals are not always successful, having a vasectomy could eliminate your chances of fathering a child, according to Mayo Clinic.

Pregnancy is still possible with techniques like in vitro fertilization, where sperm and a woman’s eggs are combined outside of the body in a lab, Mayo Clinic says, but it can be expensive and ineffective.

According to Mayo Clinic, most men do not experience side effects after having vasectomies, but the surgery could result in:

  • Bleeding or a blood clot in the scrotum
  • Blood in the semen
  • Bruising in the scrotum
  • Infection at the surgery site
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling

Other complications from the procedure include chronic pain, fluid buildup in the testicle and inflammation caused by leaking sperm.

How much do vasectomies cost?

The cost of a vasectomy ranges from $300-$3,000, according to Verywell Health.

Many health insurance plans cover vasectomy costs when they are done as outpatient procedures, but it is suggested to check with your insurance provider to make sure it is included.

If you don’t have health insurance, some clinics may offer a sliding scale fee, meaning the amount you are charged for the procedure is based on your income level.

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