U Health Care Celebrates March Madness with More Vasectomy Appointments

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

(Daily Utah Chronicle file photo)

By Taylor Almond

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(Daily Utah Chronicle file photo)
(Daily Utah Chronicle file photo)

When the players hit the court for March Madness, many men head to the doctor’s office — but not for the reasons you’d think.

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According to ESPN, urologists report up to a 50 percent increase in vasectomy appointments around March Madness. That’s why University of Utah Health Care is sponsoring “Vas Madness,” which includes extending hours for appointments from March 13 to 27 at the Salt Lake City, South Jordan and Orem clinics. The appointments include care packages with basketball-shaped ice packs to help with recovery.

Kathy Wilets, spokesperson for U Health Care, said this is the first year of the vasectomy-themed program.

“We put together this marketing campaign to accommodate men who want to take advantage of this opportunity and get it done just in time for the game,” she said.

A vasectomy is a form of male sterilization where the vas deferens of each testicle is cut in surgery. It is considered a permanent method for birth control.

Michael Montgomery, a freshman in computer science, said he won’t be getting a vasectomy anytime soon.

“I’m not a basketball fan, and I wouldn’t call myself a vasectomy fan, so the appeal isn’t there,” he said. “People take basketball so seriously. I don’t know why they have to tie a vasectomy into it.”

But Montgomery is glad the U is encouraging vasectomies.

More women than men typically undergo birth control surgeries, such as hysterectomies (when the entire female uterus is removed). Tubal ligations, otherwise known as “getting your tubes tied,” is the most common form of female sterilization and is just as effective as vasectomies. But the process of blocking the fallopian tubes is also more dangerous and invasive, according to The Los Angeles Times. Yet the CDC estimates that 16 percent of women get tubal ligations, while only six percent of men get vasectomies.

Montgomery thinks this is an issue of sexism.

“Pregnancy and child birth are seen as a women’s issue,” he said. “It creates this idea that surgery to induce sterility is also a woman’s responsibility, even though male sterilization is cheaper and safer.”

Wilets said the U has seen appointments increase because of the “Vas Madness” promotion. For more information visit: healthcare.utah.edu/campaigns/vasmadness.

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