Brief history of vasectomy

Fam Plann Inf Serv. 1980 Dec 5;1(5):2-3.


PIP: Ancient theories on procreation viewed life and soul as being centered around the placenta and that both semen and menstrual blood played a part in the conception and formation of the fetus. In 1677, Leewenhoek mentioned the spermatozoa at a medical meeting but even before him, sceptics asserted they had seen exceedingly minute forms of men in semen. In 1843, Barry observed cellular division following union of sperm and ovum. The 1st recorded vasectomy was performed on a dog by Cooper in 1823. R. Harrison of London performed the 1st human vasectomy, not for sterilization purposes, but to bring about atrophy of the prostate. During the Second World War, vasectomy was finally regarded as a method of birth control. The 1st vasectomy program on a national scale was launched in 1954 in India. In 1976, a huge government campaign for sterilization was launched and was responsible for the sterilization of millions of Indian couples. It appears that vasectomy, with its low cost, simplicity of technique, and measurable successes in the laboratory, would become even more popular than tubal ligation.

MeSH terms

  • Family Planning Services
  • Semen
  • Sterilization, Reproductive
  • Vasectomy*