There has been a surge in young men seeking vasectomies, according to new figures.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Dr John McCormick of Vasectomy Ireland said the surge has happened in the past four or five years.
He said his clinic recorded a tenfold increase of men in their twenties coming in for the operation.
The figures show that six in ten did not have any children when they took the decision.
“It is very young and they do require careful counselling,” he said.
“So, it would generally involve a conversation at least several weeks beforehand. I encourage them to talk to those closest to them – in some cases that’s their parents or siblings and, in some cases, it is their friends.
“The overwhelming theme of the conversation is they are very definite about it. They have thought about it for a long time, probably for several years, kids were never for them and they’re making a very informed choice at a very young age – but it is their choice to make.”
He said most men who take the decision have “very personal reasons” for doing so – with climate anxiety rarely a factor.
“I’ve seen several men over the years with a history of mental illness that has been difficult to control,” he said.
“One man said to me, I can barely look after myself; how can I look after any children I might have?
“Then there are people where their choice is, they just never wanted kids. It was just never going to happen.
“I think I’ve only heard one person talk about the population on the planet and their concern for the environment. So yeah, it tends to be very much a personal choice.”
Dr McCormick says he treats young men the same as anyone else when they come in.
“You would be very blunt with the facts,” he said. “Obviously, you tell them to treat it as a permanent thing. You can get vasectomies reversed but reversals don’t always work and vasectomy reversal is a bigger procedure.
“You can also have sperm extractions done so, even if you had a vasectomy, you can still extract sperm from the testicles and your partner can get IVF in the future. So, there is that option.
“Some men will say, I would rather adopt if we were going to have kids in the future. That is their thinking at a young age.”