In the first year after the fall of Roe v. Wade, it is estimated that an additional 75,000 babies will be born in the U.S. This means that nearly 75,000 more fathers may be looking at child support payments garnished from their paychecks. This, more than anything that’s happened in the last century, may finally be incentive enough to stimulate interest in birth control methods for the sperm donator.
75,000 more fathers may be paying child support in 2023
Within hours of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, a Texas physician received 70 calls about vasectomy. Planned Parenthood, which provides the service in some of its clinics, reports that visits to its vasectomy web page saw a 2,300% increase. Urologists around the country are reporting an increase in requests for appointments – a clinic in Ohio went from 3 to 4 procedures a day to 90 per day. And in Nashville, TN, you can get a free milkshake at a local hot dog restaurant with proof of vasectomy (a note from your doctor will suffice) no matter how long ago it was done!
Vasectomy is the favored choice of cis-gendered sperm makers seeking a contraceptive method due to its effectiveness (99.99%), its low cost (which is usually covered by health insurance), and its permanence – once and done. While a vasectomy should be considered a permanent decision, attempted reversals within 10 years after the procedure are likely to be successful. If he’s really unsure, sperm banks exist to ensure the possibility of future paternity.
Consider this: having a vasectomy has no effect on testosterone levels, no effect on ability to maintain an erection, no effect on the sensation of orgasm or ejaculation. No pills, no shots, no devices and no side effects. To the egg-releasers trying to avoid pregnancy through 30 years of fertility, this method would be a dream! You don’t even need a condom once you test sperm-free (unless you need it for STD prevention, of course).
100% abstinence is 100% effective. It is the most unpopular birth control measure worldwide.
While both tubal ligations and vasectomies are considered to be very safe procedures, a testicle owner can have it done in the doctor’s office or clinic with local anesthesia and may experience infection, bruising, swelling, and tenderness at the site. An ovary owner must have it done in a hospital under general anesthesia with risks like infection, bleeding, bladder or bowel perforation or scarring and complications from general anesthesia like nausea, vomiting, — or death. In my mind, no comparison. Yet tubal ligations are three times more common than vasectomies in the U.S.
Say you think that you might want children sometime in the future. What’s a sperm producer to do then? Let’s review what else is currently available or in the pharmaceutical pipeline.
METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL FOR FERTILE TESTICLE OWNERS
Episodic methods: outercourse, withdrawal, and condoms
This trio is the historical “tri-ineffecta” of birth control methods. They are free or low cost, readily available, and surprisingly very effective when used perfectly. In reality, about 15 of every 100 couples will get pregnant within a year of using condoms only, 27 if relying on withdrawal. For reference, without the use of a birth control method, about 85 out of 100 sexually active cisgender women will become pregnant within one year.
- Outercourse is any sexual activity that does not involve penis-in-vagina action and can include oral and anal sex.
- Withdrawal is the removal of the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation which is a little more risky; it is difficult to do consistently and effectively, and sperm can be numerous in pre-ejaculation fluid.
- Condoms – the first and most used, I can’t really say ‘popular,’ method of contraception. Condoms first became legal in the U.S. in 1918 – and during the 1920s the birth rate decreased by half!
Long-term methods: Types of Vasectomies
- Surgical vasectomy A vasectomy is a surgical procedure during which a doctor will close off the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis) so that the ejaculatory fluid does not contain sperm.
- Non-surgical vasectomy is the same procedure with a newer approach. Instead of slicing through the scrotum, a tiny puncture is made to reach the vas deferens which results in less bleeding, no stitches, and faster healing.
- Non-hormonal reversable vasectomy techniques are in clinical trials and, though not yet available, should be popular once approved – which may not happen for another 5-10 years. Instead of cutting the vas deferens, a gel can be injected into the tube. It hardens, preventing the sperm from getting through. Another injection can dissolve the plug of hardened gel when there is a desire for pregnancy. There is also a new device that can be placed into, and later removed from, the vas deferens filtering out the sperm in the meantime.
You are home free once your semen sample indicates zero sperm 8 weeks or 20 ejaculations after the procedure.
Hormonal Methods (still under development):
- Pills – Studies in U.S. have shown the male birth control pill to be very effective and well-accepted by the users. Clinical trials are continuing in order to evaluate long-term effects. This method is the closest to FDA approval.
- Injections – The shot did not do as well in studies. Side effects were too severe: acne, increased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and mood disorders. Another type of shot suppresses sperm production well but the shots are expensive and require frequent injections.
- Gel – A combination of two hormones: nestorone stops sperm production and testosterone makes sure the male libido is maintained at a healthy level because….men. The gel is rubbed into the skin of the shoulders or upper arms daily and is quickly absorbed.
- Note: hormonal birth control methods do not interfere with hormone therapy
Vaccine (under development) Yes, a birth control vaccine is in the works. So far it only lessens sperm count – not good enough for prime time. But researchers are trying other targets to find the right sperm-busting, reversible immunization. Stay tuned.
In the current climate, I hope some of these contraceptive methods can be fast-tracked through FDA approval.
That’s all fine, but will they use it?
All-in-all, even though sperm are technically responsible for 100% of pregnancies, the choices of birth control methods for their ejaculators are slim – basically condoms or vasectomies. These methods account for only about 20% of the birth control used each month in the U.S., a testament to their unenthusiastic uptake. The rest has been on women’s shoulders, or bodies – financially, emotionally, and medically.
Surveys indicate that the majority of fertile people (72% of males and 74% of women) agree that both partners should be equally responsible for preventing a pregnancy. But when it came time to choosing a method, 40% of men said they were not willing to try the pill, the shot or the gel. We need better group participation!
‘A stitch in time saves nine,’ which, ironically, is an anagram for ‘this is meant as incentive’!
Birth control is known to provide benefits to people who are at risk of contracting an 18-year case of parenthood. Planning to have kids, rather than just reacting to the ones who arrive unbidden, allows for more educational and economic opportunities for the parents, better health for the babies, and more stability for the family.
Women’s access to abortion is being decimated in the majority of American states. And SCrOTUS (especially the pube-on-the-coke-can guy) is telling us they are coming after our pills and our IUDs next. We need your help!!
My recommendation is that all partners at risk for unintended parenthood are responsible for using a birth control method, e.g., one uses an external condom and another is taking a birth control pill. If you are certain you don’t want offspring in the future, don’t take any chances – get yourself to a physician for a vasectomy or a tubal ligation – no other methods are as effective. Continue to use condoms or testing-plus-monogamy to prevent infections. The STD epidemic continues to rage unabated.
Sperm Contributors: Please consider upping your game when it comes to pregnancy prevention. Your partner and your paycheck will thank you for it.