For those who don't know what a vasectomy is, let's open our "Too Much Information" file. You might want to sit down and cross your legs. I am. A vasectomy is a male form of birth control, which is nearly 100 percent effective. During a vasectomy, doctors do one of two things to block the vasa deferentia, the two tubes that carry sperm from the testes to, eventually, the penis. When those passageways are completely sealed off, which takes some time after the procedure is over, the man can't get a woman pregnant. That's because there's no sperm in the ejaculated semen [source: Planned Parenthood].
In one method, doctors cut a small nick on each side of the scrotum and then remove a small section of the vasa deferentia. Then they tie the ducts, cauterize them or close them with surgical clips. The other, no-cut method is largely the same, except you're looking at puncturing the tubes and not cutting the scrotum [source: Planned Parenthood]. Whatever method you choose, and you can take this to the bank, you'll feel pain.
How much pain? Like the jerk that I am, when I had my procedure done (please don't tell my mother, she wants more grandkids), I decided to schedule my vasectomy on the same day I went to see "Les Miserables" on Broadway. The pain was so intense that by the final act (spoiler alert!) I wanted to dive off the bridge with Inspector Javert. If I had presence of mind, I would have scheduled my operation during March Madness.
So, back to our original question: Do vasectomies increase during March Madness? It depends on where you're from (and perhaps on the strength of your local college basketball team). At the Cleveland Clinic, doctors say they are doing 50 percent more vasectomies during the NCAA tournament than they did a couple of years ago [source: Kovanis]. On the other hand, doctors at the University of Minnesota's department of urology say they haven't seen a dramatic uptick. However, several patients have said they plan to use their downtime to watch sports on TV [source: DePoint].
The idea of marketing vasectomies isn't new. Apparently, a urology center in Oregon ran a "Snip City" March Madness promotion in 2008. Doctors offered their patients a "special recovery kit" that included an issue of Sports Illustrated, a T-shirt and a cooler to keep adult beverages frosty during the recuperation period [source: Savedge].
Author's Note: Do men really schedule their vasectomies during March Madness?
Yes, I had a vasectomy about 12 years ago. Yes, it hurt. Yes, I shut the door to the bedroom so the cats wouldn't jump on me. And yes, like a fool I went to go see a Broadway show that night. The procedure lasted longer than my marriage — thankfully. According to one study, vasectomies fail at about a rate of 11 per 1,000 a year after the procedure is performed. Those odds are much better than Harvard winning a national title.
- Brooks, Walter. "March Madness means pizza and vasectomies on Cape Cod." Cape Cod Today. March 24, 2013. (March 26, 2013) http://www.capecodtoday.com/article/2013/03/24/17836-march-madness-means-pizza-and-vasectomies-cape-cod
- DePoint, Matt. "Do more men opt for a vasectomy during March Madness?" University of Minnesota. March 21, 2013. (March 26, 2013) http://www.health.umn.edu/healthtalk/2013/03/21/do-more-men-opt-for-a-vasectomy-during-march-madness/
- Fox News. "Vasectomy surgeries increase during March Madness." March 22, 2013. (March 26, 2013) http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/03/22/vasectomy-surgeries-increase-during-march-madness/
- Kovanis, Georgea. "Vasectomies up During NCCC basketball tournament." USA Today. March 15, 2012. (March 26, 2013) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/story/health/story/2012-03-15/Vasectomies-up-during-NCAA-basketball-tournament/53552554/1
- Planned Parenthood. "Vasectomy." (March 26, 2013) http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/vasectomy-4249.htm
- Savedge, Jenn. "March Madness brings basketball, pizza...and vasectomies?" March 17, 2012. (March, 26, 2013) http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/march-madness-brings-basketball-pizza-and-vasectomies