Planned Parenthood is offering free vasectomies to uninsured young men, despite the fact the procedure may not be as reversible as people think.
In October, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLR) will perform 100 free vasectomies for uninsured and underinsured patients in honor of World Vasectomy Day at three of its locations.
It is the third year PPSLR will offer vasectomies, a 20 to 30-minute surgery performed by a doctor that blocks small tubes called the vas deferens in the scrotum to stop sperm from leaving a man’s body and causing pregnancy.
Forty appointments will be available at the Central West End Health Center in St Louis on October 19. Thirty will be available in the town of Rolla on October 20 and 30 will be available in Springfield on October 21.
Dr Esgar Guarin, a reproductive health doctor, will be returning to the area with his mobile vasectomy trailer, which he calls ‘The Nutcracker.’
Erika Haas holds her boyfriend’s Brad Bashor’s hand as Dr Esgar Guarin performs a vasectomy on Mr Bashor in his mobile vasectomy on Friday, November 4, 2022
Google searches for both vasectomies and abortion pills surged after a draft for the Roe decision leaked in May 2022, and again when the court made it official on June 24
The physicians from PPSLR will use a minimally invasive procedure called a no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy, where no cuts or stitches are needed and patients can go home the same day.
There is another type of vasectomy which does use a scalpel. For this, a doctor will numb the scrotum with local anaesthetic, and then make two small cuts in the skin on each side of your scrotum to reach the tubes that carry sperm out of your testicles (the vas deferens).
Each tube is cut and a small section removed. The ends of the tubes are then closed, either by tying them or sealing them using heat.
The cuts are stitched, normally using dissolvable stitches that go away on their own within about a week.
Dr Guarin told Springfield News-Leader: ‘It’s worse to go to the dentist, I always tell my patients.’
Nils Seubold underwent a vasectomy last year on The Nutcracker. He had been considering the procedure for a while but decided to take the plunge when Roe v Wade was overturned.
He said: ‘I would definitely have to say it’s a really good choice for people that have their minds made up about where they’re headed in life… it’s definitely not as scary as one would think it would be.’
It is a low-risk procedure, and a man who receives one will usually recover within a matter of days.
A vasectomy is over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, while the contraceptive pill is around 91 percent effective.
After the US Supreme Court overturned federal abortion protections when it reversed Roe v Wade in June 2022, demand for vasectomies, a male form of birth control, in the US surged.
In October 2022, clinics in parts of the country said they saw up to four times as many patients coming in for the operation compared to before the ruling in June.
Planned Parenthood said it saw a 53 percent increase in traffic nationally to vasectomy information on its website after the Roe v Wade reversal.
PPSLR performed 42 vasectomies in July 2022, compared to just ten in the same month the year prior.
Lawmakers responded to the growing demand. A California law will take effect in 2024 to make vasectomies cheaper by allowing patients with private insurance plans to get the procedure at no cost other than monthly premiums.
Many men use the procedure to delay having children and some seek to reverse the procedure when they are ready to start a family.
While the procedure can be reversed, experts consider it to be a permanent form of birth control.
Around 90 percent of men who want to reverse their vasectomy will be able to successfully do so. However, around 10 percent of men seeking to have their fertility restored will be unable to, according to research published in 2021.
Around 300,000 men receive a vasectomy each year and between three and ten percent seek to reverse the procedure, studies suggest.
Uninsured or underinsured patients can call 314-531-7526 or visit ppslr.org/vasectomy to make an appointment at The Nutcracker for October 2023.