Of the country’s three largest cities, the trend is most marked in capital Stockholm, where the number of patients undergoing the procedure has more than doubled over the last five years.
That increase may reflect an increasing tendency amongst women to opt against hormone-based contraceptives, says Niklas Envall, a midwife with the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education.
“Women today are a little bit more negative in relation to contraception, many may have experienced side effects that prevent them from using them. So men are taking responsibility for reproductive health in this way,” Envall, who also works as a guest lecturer at the Karolinska Institute specializing in contraceptive methods, said.
Aside from using condoms, sterilization is the only method of contraception available to men, and an increasing number have chosen the option over the last five years.
Around 1,430 men underwent vasectomies in 2013. That number increased to 2,470 in 2017, according to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen). That represents an increase of just over 70 percent.
Of the country’s three largest municipalities and administrative regions, the trend is clearest in Stockholm (blue in the below graphic), where the number of vasectomies has more than doubled. In 2014, a total of 329 men had vasectomies, compared with 684 in 2017 and 688 up to and including September this year.
“It’s important to point out that (vasectomy) is not irreversible, although there is a risk you will not subsequently be able to conceive naturally. The advantage is that it’s very effective,” Envall said.
The surgery itself is a simple procedure under local anaesthetic and takes around 15 minutes, he added.
Vasectomy numbers in Sweden remain lower than in many other countries, despite the current trend.
“In fact, (vasectomy) in Sweden is quite low compared to many other countries. Looking at other parts of the world, sterilization is the most common method. In Australia, for example, 10-15 percent of men are sterilized,” Envall said.
There is no evidence to suggest that having had the procedure affects sex drive, he added.