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'We don’t have that safety net': Why some are choosing to get vasectomies post-Roe v. Wade

Vasectomy requests increase around NCAA Tournament
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 21:23:48-04

PHOENIX — Brandon Lamb and his wife had already decided they were not going to have biological children together.

Lamb’s wife is a Type 1 Diabetic, and the couple was concerned about the potential health impacts of a pregnancy.

“We kind of came to the conclusion that if we were going to have kids, it would be through an adoption process and not her being pregnant, because the likelihood of her being a high-risk pregnancy is much higher,” Lamb said.

The couple discussed Lamb having a vasectomy in the future, but there was no concrete timeline in place. That all changed, Lamb said, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.

“Basically, [I] immediately decided that, okay, I need to go get it done. Now,” Lamb said.

Lamb did some research and turned to Dr. Mark Hong M.D. with Integrative Urology in Phoenix to get a consultation.

“[I] got in for a consultation. I think like the next week, popped in [and] we had a conversation,” Lamb said. “He asked me some questions about, you know, my wife and I, our background, [if] we have kids, what kind of led to the decisions.”

Roughly two weeks later, Lamb had the surgery.

Dr. Hong said he’s seen what he described as a “flood of guys” seeking a vasectomy post-Roe v. Wade.

“What I've seen is a lot of couples coming in. A lot of guys who have been considering doing this already, but now the timing of it is much more important,” Dr. Hong said. “They feel a sense of urgency on this.”

With the uptick, Dr. Hong is seeing in patients, he wants those considering the procedure to fully think the decision through.

“I actually think it's really important to meet every guy beforehand, before you have the pressure of talking about the procedure itself, which can cause, actually, quite a bit anxiety,” Dr. Hong said. “But you really want to sit down with each guy and understand their situation. First, understand what are the expectations they have? What are the things they've heard before they even stepped into your office?”

While a vasectomy is reversible, Dr. Hong explained that the process for it is a “complicated procedure” with “additional risks.”

“What we don't want to do and what we're screening for is, for a guy to come in, hasn't really thought through their decision, but then also thinks that the vasectomy is kind of like an on and off switch, right?” Dr. Hong said. “So [a] vasectomy is meant to be permanent, even though it is reversible. You want to be sure you're done. And what we don't want, of course, are panic decisions, people who feel like, ‘Hey, I gotta do this, but I'm not 100% sure.’ And I tell every single guy, we got to own whatever decision we make.”

In the time that’s followed his procedure, Lamb said he is comfortable with his decision to get a vasectomy. But what still bothers him, he said, is the fact that he can make a health decision about his own reproductive health while his wife cannot.

“When I was talking to her about this, like, I had complete autonomy to walk in here, [and] have a conversation with Dr. Hong. Nobody scoffed at it. No one batted an eye,” Lamb said. “Like yeah, [a] middle-aged white male wants to get a vasectomy. Cool. No problem. I don't really understand why everyone can’t make their own decision for themselves.”