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Meet Your New Favorite Holiday: World Vasectomy Day

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST on Friday, anyone who so desires will be able to watch live as 28 men from around the world undergo vasectomies. And, no, that’s not a joke. The event is part of World Vasectomy Day, an initiative by health activists to dispel myths around the procedure. It’s the second such ...

China Photos/Getty Images
China Photos/Getty Images

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST on Friday, anyone who so desires will be able to watch live as 28 men from around the world undergo vasectomies. And, no, that’s not a joke.

The event is part of World Vasectomy Day, an initiative by health activists to dispel myths around the procedure. It’s the second such event, and organizers say that some 250 doctors in 30 countries plan on carrying out as many vasectomies as possible in a 24-hour period.  

If that sounds horrifying, take a deep breath and read on. Vasectomies aren’t the graphic procedures that the male readers of this article are currently imagining. It isn’t a particularly invasive procedure, but still most men shudder at the idea of having it done.

As a result, the burden of using birth control remains for the most part the responsibility of women. Surgical birth control solutions are available to both men and women, but tubal ligation — better known as having one’s tubes tied — is carried out in far greater numbers than vasectomies, despite the fact that tubal ligations are far more dangerous to a woman’s health than a vasectomy is to a man’s.

So for a man who is in a committed relationship and plans to have no more children — or one who doesn’t want to have children at all — having a vasectomy makes a great deal of sense. "We created World Vasectomy Day because we believe that men should shoulder a greater share of the responsibility for family planning, because we want more people to know how safe, simple and effective this procedure is, and because vasectomy prevents unintended pregnancies more effectively than any other form of contraception," Dr. Doug Stein, who has performed more than 33,000 procedures and is a co-founder of the event, said in a statement. "That’s a win-win for the health of women, our children, and our planet."

Indeed, the initiative to get greater numbers of men to get vasectomies is one with important environmental ramifications. The United Nations notes that the environmental impacts of climate change are only exacerbated by population growth, and getting men to more effectively participate in family planning is a key part of reining in climate change. By encouraging men to have vasectomies, the sponsors of World Vasectomy Day hope to help control family size.

So tune in tomorrow.

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering cyberspace. @EliasGroll

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