Objectives: To explore whether health care, socioeconomic, or personal characteristics account for disparities observed in the utilization of vasectomy. More than 500,000 vasectomies are performed annually in the United States. The safety and efficacy of vasectomy make it a good family planning option, yet the factors related to use of male surgical sterilization are not well understood. In this analysis, we examined differences in vasectomy rates according to factors such as race and socioeconomic status.
Methods: We analyzed data from the male sample of the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth to examine the use of vasectomy among the sample of men aged 30-45 (n = 2161). Demographic, socioeconomic, and reproductive characteristics were analyzed to assess associations with vasectomy.
Results: About 11.4% of men aged 30-45 years reported having a vasectomy, representing approximately 3.6 million American men. Although 14.1% of white men had a vasectomy, only 3.7% of black and 4.5% of Hispanic men reported undergoing vasectomy. On multivariate analysis, a significant difference in the odds of vasectomy by race/ethnicity remained, with black (odds ratio = 0.20, 0.09-0.45) and Hispanic men (odds ratio = 0.41, 0.18-0.95) having a significantly lower rate of vasectomy independent of demographic, partner, and socioeconomic factors. Having ever been married, fathering 2 or more children, older age, and higher income were the factors associated with vasectomy.
Conclusions: After accounting for reproductive history, partner, and demographic characteristics, black and Hispanic men were less likely to rely on vasectomy for contraception. Further research is needed to identify the reasons for these race/ethnic differences and to identify factors that impede minority men's reliance on this means of fertility control.