Population Matters

The little operation with a big effect

The little operation with a big effect

18 November is World Vasectomy Day. This annual event aims to promote global awareness and use of male contraceptive methods, particularly the vasectomy operation.

Notorious rock wild man Ozzy Osborne (seen here in his family man guise) underwent a vasectomy, which was later reversed
Notorious rock wild man Ozzy Osborne (seen here in his family man guise) underwent a vasectomy, which was later reversed

This year, the flagship event of World Vasectomy Day will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, where panel discussions, interviews with patients and live entertainment take place. Elsewhere around the world, hundreds of sponsored vasectomies will take place, while a fundraising initiative will attempt to make the procedure more affordable for those in need.

Although World Vasectomy Day has facilitated hundreds of additional vasectomies since first officially taking place in 2013, its organisers maintain that their greatest achievement is not the number of procedures that take place, but rather the conversation and debate that World Vasectomy continues to inspire. This relates not only to individual choices about family size, but also to the global impact of those choices. At a time when human activity is driving the sixth mass extinction of plant and animal life on this planet, further protracted population growth is simply unsustainable. Yet in spite of this, the global population is projected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, and unless global fertility continuously falls over the next 34 years, that figure may turn out to be much higher.

In this context, the importance of family planning measures cannot be underestimated. Population Matters believes that greater use of family planning worldwide will not only help safeguard global biodiversity, but will also contribute to reduced levels of poverty in certain communities. As the organisers of World Vasectomy Day write, the aim of the procedure is “not to deny the joy of parenthood, but to increase the quality of life for children already here”. By promoting a lesser-known contraceptive measure, World Vasectomy Day raises crucial awareness of the effect that individual choices have on the future of our planet, and gives men worldwide a better chance to choose the kind of future they want.

And all of that, it seems, is available through a simple surgical procedure, which is safe, painless, and is over within 15 minutes.

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