While a vasectomy is a quick and highly effective birth-control procedure for men, the idea of surgery on one’s testicles, however brief, can be a bit of a mental hurdle for some guys. But what if there’s a way to get this surgery with built-in moral support? To ease the anxiety, men are starting to turn vasectomies into social activities with friends, getting the procedure done one after another before recuperating together. Group vasectomies might actually have some pain-relieving perks, but it’s also just more fun to recover with a pal around.
The urologist Paul Turek has coined a word for this type of social procedure: brosectomy. Turek, who says he pioneered this strategy in 2013 at his California clinic, told me the idea came to him while he was surfing and realized that he felt more comfortable riding uncomfortably large waves when he was with his friends. “Things are better when someone’s got your back,” he says. “I think the same feeling is present in brosectomies: Good friends sharing a potentially uncomfortable or anxiety-provoking situation make things better.”
And Turek isn’t the only urologist catering to the buddy system. More and more clinics seem to be offering this type of group surgery. While there are no data on the prevalence of brosectomies, roughly 500,000 men in the United States get a vasectomy each year. As women balk at long-term, hormonal birth control, sterilization is seen as an enticing replacement for couples. And if that’s the route they choose, it’s vastly easier on men than on women, for whom getting their tubes tied is major, costly surgery. John Lambrechts’s wife gave birth to two boys, “both by C-section,” says Lambrechts, who got a brosectomy in late 2016. “It was the least I could do.”