Doctors and clinics are reporting a surge in demand for vasectomies after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. (Photo: Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)
As the U.S. grapples with the post-Roe era, a new trend has hit: There’s a “dramatic” increase in men choosing to get snipped—like this guy who’s now TikTok famous.
In the viral TikTok, watched 4.5 million times, the smiling man walks onto a parking lot and does a little dance, while the voiceover says, “When he gets a vasectomy for you because you live in a red state.” Comments abound, calling him a “10,” a “hero,” and a “true king.” In fact, the demand for vasectomies appears to have shot up all over the country since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, staff at five clinics told VICE News. Dr. Charles Monteith is the medical director of A Personal Choice vasectomy and reversal clinic in North Carolina, where abortion remains legal. Some Republican lawmakers are pushing for an abortion ban that would narrow the scope of legal abortions for medical reasons. Monteith told VICE News that his clinic’s website typically gets about 400 visitors a day. On June 24—the day Roe was overturned—1,300 people visited the site, and vasectomy-related inquiries and appointments have been up ever since. “I'm normally scheduled out for two to four weeks. Now, I’m scheduled out for three months,” Monteith said. He added that he doesn’t schedule patients beyond three months out, but if he did, he’d be booked until the end of the year. “We have seen a dramatic increase in inquiries and contacts through our website and calls,” he said. Five healthcare workers told VICE News they’ve seen a surge in vasectomy demand since the fall of Roe. (Motherboard previously reported how the leaked SCOTUS opinion draft already compelled men who’ve had vasectomies to speak up.) A medical assistant in Huntsville, Alabama, said her clinic is getting a “crazy” uptick in vasectomy appointments, while Dr. Tim McAuliff, a Texas-based vasectomist, said weekly calls to his clinic have doubled. Both are in states that have enacted draconian abortion laws since the fall of Roe.
“We’ve had some people call and say because of Roe v. Wade they want to be more proactive or preventative,” McAuliff said. A lot of women have also called on behalf of their partners, McAuliff said. A colleague of his in New York—a blue state where abortion rights aren’t at risk—also said his business has tripled.“Maybe there’s emotional and psychological panic… I wouldn’t have thought that in a state where abortion is legal there’d be a change,” McAuliff said. Dr. Doug Stein, a urologist and vasectomist based in Florida, said that during the first three weeks of June, a weekly average of 55 men registered for vasectomies. But during the fourth week of June, 150 men registered for the procedure. Today, the number of people signing up to get snipped is still well above average, even if the rate has tapered off a bit, he said. “Florida isn't even a trigger law state. We’re seeing this profound response here, but I can’t imagine how it would be in Tennessee and Missouri and other trigger law states, where abortion became illegal overnight,” Stein said. In this case, a trigger law state refers to one that had abortion bans ready to go in case Roe fell. More childless men and men under the age of 30 are inquiring about vasectomies too, Stein said. Before Roe, childless men in their 20s made up less than 5 percent of patients seeking a vasectomy at Stein’s clinic. That figure has since jumped to 9 percent. (Anyone without kids or who is under 30 has to go through a longer consultation at Stein’s clinic to make sure it’s really what they want long-term.)
According to Stein, his patients have cited three reasons for wanting a vasectomy now: Some want to “step up to the plate” and take over contraceptive responsibilities from women; for others, the fall of Roe means no backup in case IUD or birth control pills fail, so vasectomies offer a new solution; and the final group is worried that the Supreme Court will further erode access to reproductive healthcare, so they’re seeking vasectomies just in case. A vasectomy a simple, out-patient procedure that severs the tubes carrying sperm to the semen. They’re also low-risk and can be done under local anesthesia—unlike tubal ligations to close a person’s fallopian tubes, which are more complicated, more invasive, and carry more risks. McAuliff said the procedure itself lasts about 15 minutes once a patient is already lying on the table—no stirrups necessary. The patient then lowers their pants and medical staff clean, drape, and numb the area. Then it’s time for the procedure itself. “Sometimes the wives will be in, and they'll be like, ‘Oh. No stirrups? No fair,’” McAuliff said. Monteith said vasectomies aren’t as painful as some men think.“They think they're going to be in significant pain, and that's not true. Most patients rate their pain a two the day after on a scale of one to ten,” Monteith said, adding that sex drive and function aren’t affected either. While vasectomies are typically reversible, reversal isn’t guaranteed, Monteith said. (The reversal rate is 90-95 percent effective, studies show.) Reversals are more complicated and take longer than vasectomies.
“I would never advise someone to get a vasectomy if they want to have more kids or think they will want to have kids,” Monteith said. Dr. Esgar Guarín, known for performing a vasectomy on himself, said his Iowa-based practice, SimpleVas, saw a 250 percent increase in website traffic the weekend after Roe fell when compared to previous weekends. Typically, he said, he performs about 40 to 50 vasectomies per month, but this month he’s on track to perform 100. Many of Guarín’s latest patients are men in their mid-to-late 30s who don’t want children and now feel an urgent push to get snipped, he said, adding he wishes women didn’t have to lose their own rights for men to start stepping up. “At least men are waking up in our country and saying this is something we can do. That’s very nice,” Guarín said. “The problem to me is that it took restricting the right of an individual to be able to make decisions about her own body for men to start waking up.”There's a risk that the current trend will be exactly that, Guarín said, meaning it will die down over time. So, Guarín said he hopes men will be encouraged by healthcare practitioners to think about their role in the “reproductive equation beyond just making babies.”“Men need to be more aware of their participation in reproductive health, because if we don't do that, we aren't going to change the behavior.”Follow Anya Zoledziowski on Twitter.