What's stopping more men in France from getting vasectomies?

The number of men in France getting a vasectomy – a minor operation to cut the tubes that carry sperm – has rocketed in the past decade, but the procedure remains far less common here than in many other countries. Vasectomies were illegal in France until 2001 and, despite growing interest, lingering reservations continue to put patients and doctors off.

The first time Justin asked a French doctor about getting a vasectomy, he got an answer he wasn’t expecting.

“He said, ‘we don’t really do that in France’. And I said, ‘what do you mean you don’t do that in France’, and he’s like, ‘well, you need to be ready and fertile for your second wife’. And I just was floored. Like, are you kidding me?”

Justin, an American teacher who lives in Paris, already had two children at the time and his wife was pregnant with their third.

“So I went home to my wife that night and said: ‘I guess I can’t get a vasectomy here because I need to be prepared for my next wife who wants to have children’.”

Listen to this story on the Spotlight on France podcast:

'Form of mutilation'

Vincent Hupertan, a urologist in Paris who’s been performing vasectomies since 2011, sighs when he hears the story.

“The description is cartoonish – and it’s entirely accurate, unfortunately,” he tells RFI.

“I get the feeling that doctors place the blame for refusing vasectomies on men themselves – ‘you’re not sure about it, you haven’t thought it through’, as if they weren’t capable of making their own decisions about their life.

Much of the mistrust goes back to the French law’s position on vasectomies.

Read more on RFI English

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