In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, more men nationally are taking the initiative when it comes to reproductive health. Jesse Mills, MD, director of The Men’s Clinic at UCLA and associate clinical professor of urology, has noted an increasing number of men seeking consultations regarding vasectomies.
“Over the past months, since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs Decision, we’ve seen an interest among men who want to be part of the reproduction conversation,” Dr. Mills said. “We have good data to show that the number of inquiries from men pursuing vasectomies has gone up.”
Vasectomies are a form of male birth control, a procedure in which the tubes that carry sperm are cut and sealed, causing the male to become sterile.
Why are more men now stepping up?
There has been an awakening of male empathy, Dr. Mills suggested. In a post-Roe America, “men are recognizing how important the conversation about reproductive accountability is, and how long it’s been taken for granted,” he said.
In states like California, where women’s reproductive rights are more protected, “we’ve seen a bump in interest,” Dr. Mills said. “But my colleagues in states with greater restrictions are being overwhelmed with requests for vasectomies. From Wisconsin to Arkansas to Texas, my colleagues cannot keep up with the demand.”
A UCLA medical student conducted an analysis of Google searches in Texas that included vasectomy terms and quantified a 200% increase in search activity, Dr. Mills said.
Are new male birth control innovations on the horizon?
While not every male interested in assuming a more active role in birth control will consider a vasectomy, many have voiced interest in the potential for a male birth control pill. That, however, is still far out on the horizon, Dr. Mills said.
“There are a few FDA trials for pills, gels and injections for male birth control, as well as development of medical devices that can block sperm — a mechanical, reversible vasectomy —but we are still a few years away from something that will be available to consumers,” Dr. Mills said.
He believes that development of such methods will further increase male accountability for birth control. “If responsible men have a safe, effective and reversible option for birth control, I foresee it becoming widely adopted, especially if new methods have fewer potentially harmful side effects than pharmacological and surgical treatments currently available for women,” Dr. Mills said.