Friday, 15 May 2009

Quick hit: Snip snip

From Stuff's Business Day section:
Vasectomy specialist Dr Dirk Venter at the Henderson Medical Centre says there is definitely a link between financial concerns and a rising demand for vasectomies.

In the last two months, Venter has performed nearly double the amount of vasectomy procedures.

"It used to take a lot more convincing to get the men to undergo the procedure. But we are getting a lot of people who have just had a new baby come straight in for a vasectomy."

...With the recession showing no signs of easing and the job market becoming increasingly grim (unemployment now stands at a six year high of five percent), it is understandable why some men may want to put on a halt on having more children.

No estimates exist in New Zealand for the cost of bringing up a child, but in the United Kingdom, figures have been kept for the last decade.

The 2009 cost? A typical family can expect to fork out an average of £186,032 to raise a child from birth to the age of 21, according to UK insurance and investment group, Liverpool Victoria.

So translating that into Kiwi dollars using the current exchange rate - an eye watering $479,516.

Yes, it's a toss up which is more eye watering, the money or the vasectomy.
Click through for the whole article.

Kind of odd that this was in the Business section?


katy said...

I always find it disconcerting when health news is in the business section but that's the reality of it all, I guess, just another way to make money out of people. However, good on Stuff for figuring out that there is a connection between economic considerations and birth control decisions :)

Anna said...

I'm not entirely convinced by this article. Recessions are short-term (here's hoping), but vasectomies tend to be permanent. The rise in vasectomies might be due to the longer term trends that have caused family life to become more difficult over the last 20 or so years - lower wages, less support from the welfare state to meet costs of kids, etc.

Good to see men sharing responsibility for contraceptive decisions, though!

Giovanni said...

Lots of health news fall under business. If you want to know where pharmaceutical research is at, forget your fancy scientific and medical journals: you've got to read the press releases of the pharma companies, and those are invariably aimed at investors.

katy said...

"but vasectomies tend to be permanent"

Whether or not this is true, the men I know who have had vasectomies have all made the point when talking about it that it is a reversible procedure. I heard a radio ad just the other day (here or in Australia? can't remember) about a clinic that specialises in reversing them. So I don't know that they are viewed as a terminal move.

Azlemed said...

We are planning a vasectomy for B next year after we have had this baby. its the easiest contraceptive choice for us... we are finished having babies and I have no desire to spend the next 20 yrs taking the pill... for me to have my tubes done is pretty much looking at 6 weeks of no lifting etc, yet he will be able to go back to work the next day.

And I will have had 4 babies.. so he can do his bit for our family.

Anonymous said...

Vasectomies can be reversed, but it doesn't always work and greatly increases the chance of post-vasectomy pain syndrome.

Giovanni said...

So I don't know that they are viewed as a terminal move.

Spoken like somebody who doesn't have a penis! :-)

Although technically, yes, they can be reversed.

Moz said...

I had a vasectomy a while ago and it's made a significant difference to our sex life... much less concern about contraception. I'm not sure how that instead of wearing condoms makes me more involved, but I'll take your word for it.

The advice I got was to regard it as permanent - if you wait a year before trying to reverse it the odds go down and keep dropping. part of that is declining natural fertility, of course, but the longer the cut is in place the harder it is to reverse. So it's probably closer to IVF than, say, having a plate put in to fix a broken bone. Viz, expensive, painful, and not likely to succeed.

Also, I think the cost of raising kids argument is a bit nonsensical if you measure it in dollars. The real cost is time and energy, which can be turned into dollars to some extend but can't easily be bought in any quantity. The benefits are also there even if we don't hear much about them. Especially in dollar terms... what's it worth to have people who love you unconditionally in your life... $100 a week? More? Less? Or are we using a stupid measuring system when we ask the question?

Giovanni said...

Yes, the cost of raising children calculations consistently verge on the idiotic. Apart from what you rightly note, and the conspiscuous penury of middle class childless millionaires, they never tell you all the money you save by no longer going to the cinema or fancy restaurants. Ahem.

Some time in the 1930s German comedian Karl Valentin wrote a lovely letter to his daughter on her eighteenth birthday itemising the costs of her upbringing and asking for the money back (after a 10% family discount). I often think of that whenever I hear this kind of estimate.

Deborah said...

NZ men have the highest vasectomy rate in the world, and their reasons for doing it seem to be based in fairness (taking their turn at being responsible for contraception) and practicality (easy, cheap, safe, certain).

Good on them!