How finances can affect the choice to have a vasectomy

A vasectomy is a medical procedure that males can have performed that acts as a permanent form of birth control. The surgery prevents sperm from being released during ejaculation.1 Over the last several years, doctors have seen an increase in the amount of vasectomies being performed. So, researchers have taken a look at what the cause of this boost in preventing conception has been caused by.

Initial investigations
In 2008, professionals from the Cornell Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Columbia University first decided to look into reasons behind the increase of vasectomies in the U.S. This was after Dr. Marc Goldstein's appointment secretary noticed that she was scheduling more and more of these procedures.

"I used to do one to two every Friday," Goldstein said in a statement. "Now I am doing three on Fridays. There's been a significant increase."2

During consultations, Goldstein indicated that a number of his patients explained that they had been thinking about having the procedure done for some time. The driving force in making the final decision? The crashing of the stock market. Most of the men already had children and were well aware of the costs associated with raising them, and wanted to ensure that there were no more expenses added to their bank accounts in the struggling economy.

Dr. Stephen Jones also noticed that his practice was seeing a spike in vasectomies during this same time period. In fact, he indicated that scheduling increased as much as 75 percent over a few months.

"We were doing 40 to 45 a week, and then it went to 70 to 75 each week," Jones said in a statement. "Some patients were concerned about losing their insurance, but it seems to me more of it is the idea of 'I can't commit myself to raising another child in uncertain times.'"

New research
In the years that have passed, researchers have continued to keep a watch on the rate in which vasectomies have been occurring. Professionals in Milwaukee presented their findings on the subject at the meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine on October 15. Data was collected from nearly 1,700 men who discussed the possibility of vasectomies with their doctors between 2005 and 2012. Of those included, about 1,450 went through with the procedure.3

According to Dr. Anand Shridharani, the upswing of vasectomies over the years has been in line with the decrease of the average income for Americans – a good indication of economic health. This information alone indicated that there may be a link between the two subjects. Based on the information researchers collected, factors such as age and number of children had no bearing on whether or not males wanted to have a vasectomies when compared to before and after the crash of the stock market in 2008. However, the recession did play an important factor in deciding not to have another child.

"I believe the economy plays a role in trying to prevent having unintended children because of the economic burden of having a child," Shridharani told LiveScience.

As of last year, middle-income families were estimated to pay $241,080 to take care of a single child for just 18 years. This is a 23 percent increase when compared to the average cost of 1960 – which was just $195,690 in 2012 dollars. It remains to be seen whether or not the country will see a decrease in these procedures as the financial well-being if the country improves.

Researchers noted that all of their participants were from Wisconsin, and indicate that further studies need to be conducted to collected a greater amount of data from varying regions across the country.

Medex Supply provides all necessary medical supplies to health care professionals.

1 WebMD, "Birth control health center: Vasectomy" May 13, 2010
2 HealthDay, "With the economy down, vasectomy rates are up" March 23, 2009
3 LiveScience, "Recession linked to rise in vasectomies, study suggests" October 15, 2013

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