Vasectomy demographics and postvasectomy desire for future children results from a contemporary national survey

Various demographic factors were identified to influence vasectomy prevalence (6.6%), and 19.6% of vasectomized men desired future children, revealing a need for additional counseling on permanent contraceptive methods.

Vidit Sharma, B.A., Brian V. Le, M.D., Kunj R. Sheth, M.D., Sherwin Zargaroff, M.D., James H. Dupree, M.D., Robert E. Brannigan, M.D.

Volume 99, Issue 7, Pages 1880-1885, June 2013


To describe the longitudinal demographics and family planning attitudes of vasectomized men using the National Survey for Family Growth (NSFG).

Retrospective cohort analysis of the NSFG using descriptive statistics, national projections, and multivariable regressions.

In-home survey.

NSFG sampled 10,403 men aged 15-45 on family planning attitudes from 2006-2010.


Main Outcome Measures:
Vasectomy and desire for children.

There were an estimated 3,646,339 (6.6%) vasectomized men aged 18-45 in the US. Upon multivariable regression the following factors increased the odds of having a vasectomy: currently married (Odds Ratio, OR, 5.011), non-immigrant status (OR 4.405), being an adoptive parent (OR 2.774), Caucasian (OR 2.380), atheistic (OR 2.123), graduate education (OR 1.441), and increased age (OR 1.096). The odds of having a vasectomy directly correlated with the number of children. Surprisingly, an estimated 714,682 (19.6%) vasectomized men in the US desire future children. The only significant risk factor for post-vasectomy regret was frequent attendance at religious gatherings (OR=16.6). 71,886 (2.0%) of vasectomized men reported having a vasectomy reversal.

This study highlights the importance of preoperative counseling for permanency of vasectomy and reveals an opportunity to counsel couples about vasectomy vs. tubal ligation.

  • Michael Eisenberg

    While excellent, the study highlights the limitations of the NSFG with regards to men’s reproductive health. Given the ages of recruited participants (15-45), many men who have a vasectomy reversal are not captured in the data set. This likely explains the lower than expected rate of vasectomy reversal reported.

  • jim hotaling

    I was surprised to see that such a high percentage of men desire reversal of their vasectomy and also surprised to see that 2% of men had a reversal. While previous work has placed the numbers of men desiring reversal at 5%, this work places it at quadruple that number. I would agree with the authors that this may represent an unrealized opportunity for more reversals or fewer vasectomies, depending on how you look at the data. Regardless, this work is a great use of existing public databases and also highlights how much we don’t know about male reproduction from an epidemiological perspective. I wonder how the authors think the urologic community should address the 18% of men who may want a reversal in the context of the current urologic workforce shortage.

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