VANCOUVER – As women fight an uphill battle in their search for access to permanent birth control, the process for getting a vasectomy is not nearly as challenging for men—at least according to the doctor crowned the “Vasectomy King”.
Pollock has tried to make the process as simple as possible; all of the information is online and a registration form is filled out on his website before the patient even meets the clinic’s doctors.
“Sometimes there’s an indication to call the patient beforehand and talk [more] before the surgery. Otherwise, as most cases are, they’re quite typical. Then we’ll see the patient on the operating table and have a little discussion just confirming a few details, making sure he’s feeling good and ready to proceed.”
The average patient for Pollock is a man in his mid-to-late 30s, already has kids and is looking for permanent birth control. The procedure itself is so simple, Pollock says most men will come in on their own and drive themselves home after.
This could be one of the reasons men face less resistance when it comes to finding long-term birth control. Another, Pollock says, is doctors can—and do—test the efficacy of the vasectomy, whereas there’s no test for success for something like a tubal ligation.
Women say they’re getting turned away—are men?
Though it might be easier for a man to get a vasectomy, Pollock says there are times where a patient might be turned away.
“If I had a very young man come to see me, who felt he didn’t want to have any kids, wasn’t in a relationship, hadn’t had kids, I would be cautious. I might ask how long he’s been thinking about this and if he understands the long-term implications…Question him about what he might do if he were to change his mind down the road,” Pollock explains, pointing to an example of someone in their late teens who might be making a snap decision.
“I might say to him, ‘You seem very certain, and because of your age, why don’t you take a little while longer to make sure it’s right for you and then come back to me and if you still feel the same way then I’ll do it for you,’” he said.
He says it would recommend that patient talk with their families and family doctor and seek out some other opinions in the meantime.
“We want to respect a patient’s right to choose, but at the same time make sure that a decision of that magnitude is well thought out.”
As for the sexist questions, women say they’re asked in the doctor’s office, Pollock says there are some questions that both men and women should be asked.
“I think it’s a reasonable question to ask a man, ‘Are you certain about proceeding? Your partner is on board with this?’ I think it’s reasonable to ask both sexes those questions,” he said, adding it’s responsible for a doctor to have a healthy conversation and make sure the patient is well-informed.
“We want to do the best for our patients.”
–Hana Mae Nassar and Susan Lee contributed to this report