The Surprising Reason Vasectomies Surge In March

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Recovering from a vasectomy can be an uncomfortable experience, one that requires patients to forgo physical activity for as long as one week. Believe it or not, the rest needed after a vasectomy directly explains why March is the month when the number of procedures performed is at its highest.

March Madness is the culprit. During this annual event, formally known as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, 68 college basketball teams compete in a tournament spanning much of March (and sometimes running into April). The frequency of basketball games airing on TV offers men recovering from vasectomies a convenient way to pass all that time spent resting.

This correlation isn’t just suspicion. Believe it or not, there has been plenty of reporting on the uptick in vasectomies performed around March Madness. In fact, all prominent, lengthy, national sports events often provide excellent opportunities for men to schedule vasectomies, since post-operative rest mostly involves sitting on a couch and doing little physical activity, making watching TV or movies the perfect way to spend the time.

According to Dr. Jerome Parnell of the Raleigh, North Carolina-based Capital Urological Associates/WSP, the weekend of the Super Bowl sees somewhat of an increase in the number of vasectomies performed, and, oddly, so do the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas — but the March Madness uptick far outweighs that of these other occasions. Research agrees with Parnell: March Madness week often sees as much as a 30 percent increase from the norm in the number of procedures performed.

The March uptick in vasectomies may have begun when one Oregon-based urology clinic’s 2009 advertisement explicitly promoted the notion of a March Madness-fueled recovery. “You go in for a little snip, snip,” the ad’s voice-over says, “and come out with doctor’s orders to sit back and watch non-stop basketball.” Other clinics followed in suit with similar ads, all but officializing the link between March Madness and vasectomies.

Sports lovers from all walks of life have, in recent years, jumped on this correlation. In Washington, D.C., the CBS sports radio station 106.7 FM The Fan runs an annual contest called “Vasectomy Madness,” and what the winner gets isn’t anything directly related to basketball. Instead, it’s a vasectomy. The Fan has mined the humor in the correlation between March Madness and vasectomies for a tradition that gets tons of listeners to call in: for Vasectomy Madness, three men visit The Fan’s studio, and each one tries to convince audience why he, more than the other two, needs a vasectomy. It’s on The Fan’s listeners to choose which man gets the big prize — but not before on-air personalities viciously roast all three men.

The Fan uses vasectomies to pit men against each other, but more often than not, vasectomies actually unite men. March Madness also sees a rise in something that urologist Paul Turek calls the “brosectomy.” According to Jesse Mills, who oversees the UCLA Men’s Clinic, two (or more) men will go in for vasectomies together and then spend their post-operation time at a hotel relying on room service, drinking beer, and — here’s the catch — watching sports. Clearly, March Madness provides a perfect occasion for guys to embark on the brosectomy.

If you know anyone getting a vasectomy this month, make sure to include him in your March Madness plans! As reporting has shown, watching the tournament is a great way to get through recovery.

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