Do Sons drive Vasectomy Decisions?

Man as young as 18 and as old as 70 have presented in my office asking about vasectomy. Although the most common age ranges from the mid thirties to early forties. Many factors can prompt the decision for a man to come in for consultation. Reasons include a difficult labor or complicated pregnancy for the wife, a change in financial situation or an “oops”. Some of these factors are intuitive. A recent publication in Uroloby (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27919667) brings in one more surprising factor that can enter into the decision: the number of sons a parent has. 

The study was accomplished using data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health study. Results show: Vasectomized fathers have a higher proportion of sons compared to non-vasectomized fathers. This suggests that the number of sons a man has is directly correlated with his decision to pursue vasectomy. Furthermore, fathers with only daughters are less likely to pursue vasectomy. From the results: For men with at least two children, each additional son increased the likelihood of vasectomy by 4% (p<0.01), while each additional daughter led to a 2% decrease in vasectomy utilization (p=0.03).

This surprising information sheds a new light on the decision making process couples use to make their decision to come in for consultation. With that said, although I would not be surprised if the findings of this study correlate with my own patients, I have, in fact, done a number of vasectomies on men with only daughters.

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