On the one hand, medical science is working hard to cure infertility. On the other, sexual and reproductive health providers are working hard to sterilize as many people as possible.
What does this mean? It means that the infertile, and the fertile alike, are feeling increasing pressure to ride the conflicting roller coaster of reproductive treatment.
While women tend to be more vociferous about fertility treatments, men are not excluded from this ride. Vesectomy campaigns have been running in various countries around the globe for decades. The largest of these is possibly the campaign run in India in 1972, where 221,933 vasectomies were preformed during an eight week period in over 1,000 camps. However, the most recent campaigns are more subtle…
Leading UK family planning specialist Marie Stopes International is running an innovative vasectomy advertising campaign throughout the World Cup tournament. Football-themed posters encouraging men to seek information about vasectomies will be placed above urinals in men’s toilets, on tip seats in taxis and in pubs and bars around the country.
Each poster features a special vasectomy call number and an SMS address giving interested parties the option to ring or text for an information pack.
The campaign is aimed primarily at men who are in stable relationships and have completed their families.
“By placing these advertisements in men’s loos we’re hoping guys will consider the matter when they, quite literally, have the matter in hand,” said Julie Douglas, Marie Stopes International’s Marketing Manager
My concern is that marketing vasectomies in this way may lead to men considering the surgery at increasingly younger ages (there are currently no concrete restrictions on the procedure for those over 18 in North America). In packaging a vasectomy as a flippant and “easy” procedure, men who simply fear unwanted pregnancy may resort to surgery (which may also create a false sense of sexual security) and their partners may also feel more justified in pressuring them to have such a “simple” operation.
The initial vasectomy is relatively low cost and straight forward, but reversal is far more complicated.
The chief advantage of vasectomy — its permanence — is also its chief disadvantage. The procedure itself is simple, but reversing it is difficult, expensive, and often unsuccessful.
The cost for reversal surgery in Canada?
As you may be aware, the Ontario government (OHIP) and most provincial health-care providers do not cover the costs of a vasectomy reversal. We try to keep costs as low as possible.
The cost of a vasectomy reversal is approximately $4,880 including the surgeon’s fee, hospital and anaesthetic fees. There are no charges for pre-operative and post-operative clinic visits and testing as these are covered under OHIP and provincial healthcare plans.
So while the medical field works away in labs curing infertility, young men are being met in the loo by adverts that promise sexual freedom but could ultimately lead to their never having children at all.