Vasectomies, Vasectomy Reversals and the Economy

Over the past decade or so, we’ve been living through a  topsy turvy economy.  2008 was witness to our second largest stock market crash and recession. Overnight, for many, a sense of security transformed into a sense of despair.   

Discretionary spending is usually curtailed in times of financial crisis; in other words, when times are tough, we spend less.   All industries from retail electronics to restaurants to health care saw declines in revenue.  After the crash, many of my medical colleagues complained that patients were just not coming into the office.    So, it might be a little surprising if a particular medical service actually became more desirable.   In fact, it turns out that is the case with vasectomy.   As one might expect , vasectomy reversal shows the opposite trend.

Study of the Relationship between Vasectomy, Vasectomy Reversal and the Economy

In the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Urology, a study by Sharma et al  examined the relationship between vasectomy, vasectomy reversal and the economy, looking at Bureau of Labor and statistics data from 2001 to 2011 and case load from three large metropolitan centers.  Several factors were examined including unemployment, inflation rate, per capita income, S&P500, GDP growth rate, and GDP gross savings rate.   Linear regression analysis was applied to the data. Findings revealed a positive correlation between the number of vasectomies and the change in unemployment rate as well as an inverse correlation between the same statistic and the number of vasectomy reversals.

Vasectomy Considerations

Vasectomy has long been recognized as a cost effective method of preventing pregnancy, and is particularly appropriate for couples who have already achieved their goal of having children.   Certainly, anxiety over the possibility of any unplanned additional expenses can serve as a great motivator.  So it’s not too surprising that some men may make the choice to prevent the additional financial burden of an unplanned pregnancy and undergo a vasectomy.  This thought process may be particularly relevant if there is any additional concern about the prospect of a change in employment status and or a change in medical insurance coverage.

In the past few years, as employment statistics have improved and the ability to obtain credit has eased, the number of vasectomy reversals now appears to be on the rise.

1Sharma V, Zargaroff, S, Sheth K et al: Relating Economic Conditions to Vasectomy and Vasectomy Reversal Frequencies:  Multi-Institutional Study

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