The average cost and age for getting a vasectomy
Did you know that women undergo sterilization procedures like tubal ligation (often referred to as "having your tubes tied") more often than men?
While we can’t answer the question "Why aren’t more men getting vasectomies?" (here’s a good answer, if you’re about to Google it), we can share some interesting trends we found in Amino's health insurance claims database, which includes 347,000 men who received a vasectomy between 2013-2016.
- 38 years old is the median age for getting a vasectomy. 29% of men who get a vasectomy are younger than 35.
- The median age varies by state. Men getting vasectomies in Washington D.C. and New Jersey are older than average (40 years old); men in Wyoming are younger (35 years old).
- Amino's cost estimate for a vasectomy is $2,468—that’s our estimated cost for what you plus your insurance company would pay for the procedure.
- The cost estimates also vary by state. Connecticut and Minnesota have the highest estimated network rates ($3,500 or more); Rhode Island and Tennessee have the lowest ($1,400 or less).
You can use Amino (below) to find an urologist with experience doing vasectomies. After entering your information, select a doctor and click “calculate what you’ll pay” to see a cost estimate customized to your insurance.
The average age for a man getting a vasectomy? 38 years old.
We were surprised to find that 29% of men getting a vasectomy are under age 35, and that 61% are under age 40. Our data shows that the average age for a man getting a vasectomy in America is 38 years old.
Which states have the youngest (and oldest) men getting vasectomies?
When we broke the data down geographically, we found quite a bit of variance in age by state. East Coast states have a higher proportion of older men getting vasectomies than Southwest and Midwest states. The men who receive vasectomies in Washington D.C. and New Jersey are older than average (40 years old); men in Wyoming are younger (35 years old).
It’s tough to draw too many conclusions as to why this could be the case, but these results appear to directionally line up with average age of mothers at their first birth in each state, as reported by the CDC.
New mothers who live in states with large urban areas (like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California) are older, so it makes sense that the men who receive vasectomies in these states also tend to be older. (Overall, the average age of first-time mothers in the US has been increasing.)
How much does a vasectomy cost? (It’s less than the cost of tubal ligation for women.)
Amino’s cost estimates are estimates of the total amount that you and your health insurance company might pay for a procedure—this is what we call the “network rate” (more on that here). We found that the national median network rate for a vasectomy is $2,468.
This number varies quite a bit from state to state. States with the highest estimated network rates ($3,000 or more) include Connecticut, Minnesota, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Alaska, New Jersey, Oregon, and Ohio. States with the lowest estimated network rates (less than $2,000) include Rhode Island, Tennessee, Alabama, Maine, Maryland, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida.
Research shows that vasectomies are cheaper than tubal ligation. When we compared the two in our database, we found that the national median network rate for a tubal ligation is $4,000. That's nearly 1.5x the cost of a vasectomy! (Read our post on tubal ligation for more details.)
Plus, vasectomies are considered safer overall. According to Bedsider, "although serious complications are rare, they’re more likely to happen after a female sterilization operation than a vasectomy."
Considering getting a vasectomy? Here’s what you need to do.
If you’re considering getting a vasectomy, you’ll need to consult with a urologist (in some cases, a family doctor may be able to perform the procedure). You can also contact your local Planned Parenthood center—they have a helpful guide to vasectomies that can help you understand if the procedure is right for you.
Bring up cost with your doctor, so that you’ll understand what to expect to pay out-of-pocket. You can use Amino to find a urologist or family doctor, as well as estimate how much a vasectomy costs in your city.
We also covered cost trends on tubal ligation, which can help you compare the two procedures.
A few closing words.
Reproductive health is a tricky subject, and just one of the many complex topics we’ve discussed on our blog (along with birth control we’ve also covered access to care, specifically for women’s health, and C-section rates). We’re not here to give medical advice about what’s best for you, or our opinions about what types of procedures you should be getting.
Amino exists because we want to help you find the right care at the right price—whatever that means for you. Our health insurance claims database helps us expose doctors’ practice patterns and the cost of care so that we can give you recommendations for experienced, in-network doctors nearby and help you estimate your out-of-pocket costs for common procedures.
Our goal is to help give you the information you need to talk to your doctor and make smarter health care choices. We hope you find these posts helpful and interesting, and we’d love to hear which topics you’d like to see us cover. Leave a comment or email email@example.com.
For this post, we looked at 347,000 men in Amino’s health insurance claims database who received a vasectomy between 2013-2016. This allowed us to determine the age distribution of men getting a vasectomy during this time frame, as well as the median age across states. Using the methodology that powers our cost estimates, we looked at network rates for vasectomies across 129 private insurance companies and over 9,500 doctors and computed the median network rate for each state.
Analysis and data visualizations by Sohan Murthy
Social media image source: Kevin Doncaster. Image has been cropped from its original size.