Vasectomy: New opportunities

 This report examines how timely developments have opened up opportunities for promoting vasectomy, an extremely effective but rarely used family planning method.  One of the safest and most effective contraceptive methods, vasectomy involves a single minor surgical procedure that usually takes no more than 10 minutes.  There is little risk of complications involved with this permanent contraceptive method, and the procedure has no long-term effects on the man's health or sexual performance.  Despite the great advantages offered by this method, only 42 million couples worldwide rely on vasectomy, compared to nearly 140 million who rely on female sterilization.  Vasectomy is a major family planning method in only 6 developed countries and 3 developing countries.  Recent developments, however, offer hope of increasing the use of vasectomy.  The first section of the report examines improved vasectomy techniques, principally the no-scalpel vasectomy.  This new technique makes a safe procedure even safer.  With the no-scalpel vasectomy, there is little or no bleeding, fewer infections, less postoperative pain, and just as effective contraception.  The second section considers data that shows that increasing the availability of vasectomy services especially high-quality services--does attracts clients.  Studies have shown that high quality services must be conveniently located, designed to make men feel comfortable, staffed by well-trained personnel, and supported by good counseling.  As section 3 explains, mass-media publicity and person-to-person communication can greatly increase the use of vasectomy services.  The report concludes with current information concerning the worldwide, regional, and country use of vasectomy services.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,Center for Communication Programs,The INFO Project