‘Lower your seed’ with a March Madness vasectomy

     A Tennessee NCAA player bounces two basketballs during practice. (Elise Amendola/AP Photo)

    A Tennessee NCAA player bounces two basketballs during practice. (Elise Amendola/AP Photo)

    With the 30-minute outpatient procedure requiring a couple days of rest on the couch, the March timing is being touted as a natural fit. 

    You’re driving down the road, perhaps trying to drown out the kids in the backseat with a little sports radio, and you hear this advertisement:

    “Once again, the good docs over at Oregon Urology Institute have set aside extra time to perform vasectomies during the first days of the tournament…”

    Try not to crash.

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    For the past nine years, the Oregon Urology Institute, located just outside of Eugene, has promoted March Madness as the time of year for men considering a vasectomy. Since recovery from the 30-minute outpatient sterilization procedure usually requires a couple days of rest on the couch, the college basketball tournament—with its Cinderellas, buzzer beaters and 67 games crammed into three weeks—is a natural fit.

    “You go in for a little snip-snip, and come out with doctor’s orders to sit back and watch non-stop basketball. What could be better?” asks the advertisement.

    Listen to the full advertisement. 

    The man to thank for the ‘Lower Your Seed’ marketing campaign is Terry Fitzpatrick, who says the immediate reaction to the advertisement was both “I can’t believe you are doing this” and a bit of “that’s hilarious.”

    Other urology clinics have since jumped on the March Madness bandwagon, running similar promotions.

    “It is more of a compliment that we came up with something here in Eugene that everyone in the country wants to copy,” says Fitzpatrick. “We get a kick out of it all the time.”

    Roughly 500,000 American men join the ‘V Club’ each year. The American Urological Association says it doesn’t have any data to support a spike in March, but as we speak, there’s at least one guy lying on the couch, waiting for the games to start.

    “They make it sound pretty easy. Couple of days resting, nothing strenuous,” says Chris, a 30-year-old Pennsylvania man with three little kids and a fiance who said enough is enough.

    “It’s just a nice little reward for something I’m not too excited about. You know, at least there’s a little carrot on the end of the stick here.”

    Scheduled vasectomy appointments are up by about 25 percent this month at the Philadelphia Center for Sexual Medicine. Dr. Paul Gittens, who directs the clinic, says tournament time is just one of many good reasons for men to take responsibility for family planning. 

    “When a woman undergoes a tubal ligation, there is a little more risk involved. And so, I think it takes a real man to step up and have the vasectomy done,” he says.

    And if too many real men snag all the March appointments, the Oregon Urology Institute is ready with some other scheduling options. It now runs promotions during the U.S. Open golf tournament, as well as Black Friday.

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