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    Recession may have prompted vasectomy increase

    A study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting in Honolulu suggests a possible link between the recession of 2007-2009 and increasing vasectomy rates in the United States.

    RELATED: Men’s health: The argument for a holistic approach

    For the study, investigators from Weill Cornell Medical College, New York examined survey data from the National Survey for Family Growth (NSFG) to examine the impact of the economic downturn on men’s decisions about having children. The NSFG is a phone survey of over 10,000 men from across the U.S. that was conducted between 2006 and 2010. A total of 8,987 men were included in the analysis.

    After the recession, men were found to have lower income, were more often without health insurance, and were less likely to be employed full time, the authors reported. While there was no change in the proportion of men who expressed a desire to have more children, men interviewed after the recession planned on having fewer children than those interviewed before the recession.

    The authors also found that prior to the recession, 3.9% of men reported having had a vasectomy; following the recession, 4.4% had. The authors estimated that this meant an additional 150,000 to 180,000 men had vasectomies in each year of the recession.

    “During the Great Recession, men in the NSFG experienced worse economic circumstances and were 1.28 times more likely to have undergone a vasectomy. Despite an unchanged desire for more children, men in relationships reported planning for smaller families,” concluded the authors, led by Bobby Najari, MD, and colleagues.

    “Whether it’s successful hunting or having a good job, economics has played a role in having children throughout human history,” commented ASRM President Rebecca Z. Sokol, MD, MPH in a press release. “This study shows us that economics still affects human reproduction in the 21st century.”


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    Benjamin P. Saylor
    Benjamin P. Saylor is associate editor of Urology Times, an Advanstar Communications publication.


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