The month of March is known for many things: the beginning of spring, the start of Daylight Saving Time, St. Patrick’s Day, and March Madness, the largest college basketball tournament of the year. While the tournament's 'First Four' began on March 14, the madness really gears up on Thursday and Friday, when 32 games are split across the first round.
But some people claim March is also known for another thing – vasectomies.
Several health organizations across the country have used the hashtag #VasMadness when promoting the procedure ahead of the NCAA Tournament. Even food manufacturer Jack Links Jerky tweeted about the topic. The company launched a “Tender Meat for Tender Meat” care package giveaway for people who get a vasectomy before the tournament.
VERIFY looked into whether it’s true March Madness is actually a popular time for the vasectomy procedure.
Is March a popular month for vasectomies?
Yes, March is a popular month for vasectomies. Experts say March Madness is the main reason for the spike in people getting the procedure.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Urology Clinic of North Texas says of the approximately 500,000 men in the U.S. who get vasectomies in a year, a large percentage of them get it scheduled in March.
A vasectomy is a medical sterilization procedure that stops sperm from being able to get to semen. To perform a vasectomy, a urologist removes a small section of the vas deferens, or the sperm duct, in both testicles. After getting a vasectomy, the Mayo Clinic says a person would need to rest 24 hours after surgery and avoid any heavy activity for up to three days.
Since vasectomies take a few days to heal and rest is needed, many men get them done during March Madness so they can watch basketball while they recover, the Urology Clinic of North Texas website said. Urology Austin, another Texas-based clinic, also said the tournament is a popular time to get snipped.
The March Madness and vasectomy combo began as a marketing ploy, Ajay Nangia, M.D., urologist with The University of Kansas Health System, told VERIFY.
Nangia thinks the trend started in the early-to-mid-2000s, when another urologist used the tournament to get more sports fans walking through clinic doors. After that, in the same way some businesses offer pizza specials during the college tourney, other urologists started offering discounted vasectomies.
“And then it took off, whereby then other doctors started doing this, then the media picked up on it, then it became, you know, a vicious circle of ‘which is fact, which is fiction.’ And initially, it was much more of a sensationalism, but actually started becoming true. An urban legend that actually became true,” Nangia said of the trend.
A 2018 study in Urology Gold Journal also found that from 2007 to 2015, the month of March and the end of the year – when insurance deductibles have been met – had the highest proportion of vasectomies performed. Nangia believes the spike of vasectomies in the month of March, as reported in that study, can be attributed to the marketing gimmicks to get more patients in ahead of March Madness.
My Vasectomy Doc, a clinic in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has a notice on their homepage that says: “Come see us at My Vasectomy Doc for a no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy just in time for March Madness opening weekend!”
And other brands, not just Jack Links Jerky, are trying to get in on it. Twisted Tea is offering VasectomUndies during March Madness. In lieu of the traditional frozen bag of peas during recovery, the boxers are designed to hold cold drinks near your nether regions while you’re watching the tournament.