Black women are two and half times more likely than white women to face an unintended pregnancy according to the National Library of Medicine. That statistic remains true across all relationship types, including both married and unmarried women. That means that Black women are more likely to have to make one of the toughest choices a woman ever has to make. The decision surrounding what to do in the event of an unwanted pregnancy can be one that alters a life—or several lives—forever. When a woman sees that little positive sign on a pregnancy test but was hoping to see a negative, she has limited options, and none of them will be easy. So while it is important that women have those options in the event of an unintended pregnancy, the path with the least heartbreak involves preventing unintended pregnancy in the first place.
There are many options when it comes to pregnancy prevention, ranging from injections to pills to condoms to IUDs. But what might shock many is that, according to the CDC, the most common form of contraception in recent years for women was female sterilization otherwise known as tubal ligation. As an invasive, expensive and often painful procedure, it’s rather surprising so many women would opt for tubal ligation. But, they might find the conversation around vasectomies with a partner to be more painful than just undergoing surgery themselves. A lot of men squirm at the idea of a vasectomy. Black men in particular evidently. The Journal of Urology says that 14.1 percent of white men have undergone vasectomy while only 3.7 percent of Black men have. Here are reasons men should consider more vasectomies.
Most Are Reversible
For many, the main question is: can I still reproduce in the future if I decide that I want to? And the answer is, almost certainly yes. To give a quick overview of a vasectomy, it involves the cutting or blocking of the vas deferens tubes that carry sperm to semen. Vasectomies are reversible and a man’s ability to ejaculate sperm is 95 percent likely to return in men who have their reversal within 10 years of the procedure, says Cleveland Clinic. Meanwhile, tubal ligation reversal isn’t quite as successful. Brigham and Women’s Hospital reports that only between 50 to 80 percent of women are able to become pregnant after tubal ligation reversal.
Tubal ligation is a rather invasive procedure. The doctor makes an incision in the belly and from there either cuts or blocks the fallopian tubes. Some women choose to have this done after having a c-section (as in, right after) – which should give you some idea of how much a woman is opened up for this procedure. Meanwhile, a vasectomy can be performed without the use of a scalpel. During a vasectomy, a doctor makes a tiny puncture in the scrotum. He then locates the vas deferens tubes which deliver sperm to a man’s semen. He pulls them through the hole in the scrotum, cuts or block them, and either ties or cauterizes them before putting them back in.
It’s A Quick Out-Patient Procedure
Vasectomies take on average between 10 to 30 minutes, according to Mayo Clinic. Vasectomies are mostly performed using a simple numbing agent on the area that will be cut open. Patients do not need to go under for this procedure. In some cases, tubal ligation does require general anesthesia, which not only calls for more time in the hospital but can also be more costly. As for the 10 to 30 minutes required for a vasectomy, the doctor will numb the area, perform the vasectomy and close up the opening using stitches or glue. After that, the patient can go home the same day. All in all, it doesn’t disrupt the patient’s day.
It’s Less Expensive
No matter how you plan on paying for this procedure, it will likely cost significantly less than tubal ligation does. Planned Parenthood says that those paying out of pocket might expect to pay up to $1,000 for a vasectomy. Meanwhile, paying out of pocket for tubal ligation can cost up to $6,000. In many cases, insurance will cover both procedures. However, you’ll still be stuck paying your agreed upon percentage. So, for example, if your insurance covers 80 percent of costs after your deductible is met, you’re left paying 20 percent. And that exact dollar amount will be higher for tubal ligation, as the original cost of the procedure is higher than that of a vasectomy.
Recovery Is Short
Recovery from a vasectomy is quite short. In most cases, the patient should rest for 24 hours and then only do light activities for a day or two following. Total recovery times vary, with some clinics stating it can take as little as three days and some saying it can take up to 10. Still, the maximum recovery period is a fraction of that for tubal ligation, which can take up to four weeks to recover from. It is worth noting that, while it is safe to resume sexual activity as soon as the incision site heels (typically between one to two weeks), it’ll be a bit longer until the patient can have unprotected sex. This will require a semen analysis to show that the semen is no longer carrying sperm. That analyses tends to happen around three months following the procedure, says Kaiser Permanente.