March Madness Means Tying Tubes

The case of the month is an actual patient of The Turek Clinic
Traditionally, March Madness referred to the breeding season of the somewhat shy European rabbit. More recently in the U.S., it is a month of lots of college basketball playoffs, in which men are either glued to TVs or frantically attending games. In the last couple of years, it has also become a spirited time to have a vasectomy, because, well… why not heal on the couch watching games?

Donning the Badge

“Should I do it or should she?” he asked. As a father of three, he was all done with family building. “I’m through with being a one-shot-wonder.” He was also tired of condoms. So, who gets the privilege of getting their tubes tied?

A Tubular Comparison

A very good question, indeed. Both sexes have “tubes” to tie. They are fallopian in women and vas deferens in men. Women have them inside their bellies and men have them inside their scrotums. You can access women’s tubes through keyhole surgery under anesthesia or from below through the vagina. You can access the vas deferens through small skin incisions, or better yet, through “no scalpel” punctures. Either way, once the tubes are tied, carefree contraception is virtually assured. So which is more popular in America?
Here are the stats comparing vasectomy and tubal ligation:

Tubal Ligation Vasectomy

              Tubal Ligation                  Vasectomy

Percentage of U.S. couples                         16%                                6%
Failure rate                                                   0.5%                               0.1%
Side effects                                                  Some                              Few
Reversibility                                                  Good                              Excellent
Cost                                                              More                              Less
Honestly, it still baffles me that tubal ligation is almost 3 times more popular than vasectomy. Although fiddling with the family jewels is a sensitive matter, vasectomies could not get much less invasive than they currently are. And pain issues are pretty well defined and avoidable with vasectomy. Tubals are performed right smack in the epicenter of a women’s body, in close proximity to several large beating vessels and gurgling intestines, giving it great potential to go awry. Lastly, tubal ligation reversals can’t hold a candle to the effectiveness of vasectomy reversals if I do say so myself.
And so it goes, much like many things in life that can’t be explained. As Graham Greene aptly stated: “Human nature is not black and white but black and grey.” So, during this playoff season, considering stepping up to the line and taking that jump shot for the family. I’ll bet you’ll be glad you did.