Clinics offer free vasectomies, citing increased demand
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Denny Dalliance had long worried about what would happen if he fathered a child because his job as a truck driver takes him away from home most of the week.
But after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, the 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, decided it was time to act — and jumped at the chance to sign up for a free vasectomy.
« These are grim circumstances in which I made this decision, » he said as he drove a load of boxes through Kansas this week.
The vasectomy he is scheduled to undergo next month is part of an effort that involves Planned Parenthood and a doctor with a mobile vasectomy clinic. Sixty vasectomies will be offered over three days inside and outside of Planned Parenthood clinics in St. Louis, Springfield and Joplin to uninsured patients during the first week of November amid what clinics say will be a increased demand for the procedure.
Dr. Esgar Guarin then plans to take his mobile clinic – a vehicle decorated with large images of semen that his friends have jokingly dubbed the “Nutcracker” – on the road the following week to offer another 40 free vasectomies in several cities. from Iowa.
Guarin also plans to offer discounted vasectomies that month at his regular Des Moines-area clinic.
These efforts are part of World Vasectomy Day, originally a one-day event that now includes a year-round focus and a slew of activities in November.
“This is a very special time for reproductive rights in the United States. And we need to talk about that,” he said, adding that vasectomies are done far less often than the tubal ligation method of female sterilization, even though they are cheaper, have a shorter recovery time and require local rather than general interventions. , anesthesia.
Guarin, who serves on the World Vasectomy Day medical advisory board, helped bring vasectomies last year to Planned Parenthood in St. Louis to raise awareness of the procedure. The effort was so popular that the decision was made to expand it to other cities even before Roe’s overthrow caused demand to skyrocket.
In July alone, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwestern Missouri Area performed 42 vasectomies, up from 10 in the same month last year. Female sterilizations rose to 18 that month from just three in July 2021.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has heard similar reports from across the country that more and more patients are seeking tubal ligations. It’s too early for post-Roe national numbers on permanent sterilization, said Laura Lindberg, a professor at Rutgers University’s School of Public Health in New Jersey.
Planned Parenthood, for example, does not yet have national sterilization figures available for this year. However, its national webpage has seen a 53% increase in searches for vasectomy information over the past 100 days, a spokesperson said.
Google Trends data shows that searches for vasectomies briefly spiked after the Majority Opinion Project leaked in the Dobbs case, but then peaked in the days after the court ruling ended. June.
Dr. Doug Stein, a urological surgeon at Tampa-St. The Petersburg, Fla., area said patient enrollment for its practice tripled immediately after the Dobbs decision, with many patients under 30.
« I think everyone’s been busier since the Dobbs decision, » said Stein, co-founder of World Vasectomy Day.
Dr. Arnold Bullock, a St. Louis urologist who performs about 35 vasectomies a month, said that before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, patients waited about a month for the procedure when the wait is now two to three months.
In Texas, Dr Koushik Shaw said his Austin urology institute spiked when Texas enacted a tough abortion law last year and a bigger one after the court ruling. Supreme Court of the United States, so that it now performs 50% more procedures. He said many are aimed at men who don’t want children and see access to abortion as another option if birth control isn’t working as expected.
« It really pushed family planning to the forefront of people’s thoughts, » he said of the loss of access to abortion.
Lawmakers are responding to growing demand. A California law that will take effect in 2024 will make vasectomies cheaper by allowing patients with private insurance to get the procedure at no additional cost other than what they pay for their monthly premiums.
Dr. Margaret Baum, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis and Southwestern Missouri Area, will partner with Guarin to provide free vasectomies. She has had many conversations with patients about permanent sterilization over the past few months and said there was a sense of urgency.
“I think people are afraid, #1, that abortion isn’t accessible, which is a very real and legitimate fear and in reality for a lot of people in our country. And then I think people are also really scared of what might happen next,” she said.
A vasectomy involves cutting and sealing the tube that carries semen, preventing it from entering the ejaculatory fluid. Baum said she chats with patients to keep them calm, sometimes activating a playlist that includes « Great Balls of Fire » and « The Nutcracker Suite. » Most patients recover completely within a few days.
Dalliance, the truck driver, said he no longer wanted to blame birth control on partners, especially with harder-to-obtain abortions. Her home state of Missouri was one of the first in the nation to pass a trigger law banning abortion at any time during pregnancy.
« I don’t want to sound like I’m unhappy doing this, but this is a situation where my hands were forced in regards to the Roe vs. Wade decision, » he said.
« I feel like with the extreme cost of having a child in the United States, I’ve kind of been overpriced, » he said. “And so, this is me cashing in my chips so to speak. It’s the right ethical decision for me, but it’s not a decision taken lightly.