Around 2.4 percent of all men have had a vasectomy worldwide. Male sterilization is most common in developed areas of the world, especially North America, Asia, and Western Europe, where birth rates have declined. In America, 7 percent of men have had a vasectomy, 9 out of 10 of them married men. This number has been static since 1990s, and shows no signs of changing.
The alternative to male sterilization is female sterilization, usually tubal ligation, wherein the fallopian tubes are cut and blocked up. It is commonly referred to as “getting your tubes tied”. This keeps eggs from being released into the womb, preventing conception.
A similar method known as the tubal implant method involves placing spring-like coils into the fallopian tubes, causing scar tissue to form, which blocks the tubes. This can take up to 3 months to be effective.
Vasectomy is both more effective and safer than tubal ligation. Vasectomies are nearly 100% of effective and less likely to fail compared to a tubal ligation. Furthermore, complications are less likely with a vasectomy. Part of this is due to vasectomies being inherently safer and less invasive than a tubal ligation due to where the vas deferens are located compared to the fallopian tubes. Thus, vasectomies are also more convenient and more affordable compared to tubal ligation.
Despite this, tubal ligation is still more popular than vasectomy worldwide, by a factor of four or five times. Why is this the case? Well, historically reproduction was a duty that women were responsible for. In the past it was left to the woman to put on that condom, take her birth control pills, or get an abortion. Also consider, even today, that much of the male identity was tied with his fertility and ability to raise kids. Being sterile is not considered “manly”. So why would men get vasectomies when it was easier to just make women get a tubal ligation? The society we live in today is thankfully a little less sexist, and now it’s accepted that some of the responsibility lies on the man’s shoulders as well. Vasectomies are the best form of birth control, hands-down.