While hospital discharge and ambulatory surgery registries provide accurate estimates of female sterilization procedures, current estimates of male sterilization rates are lacking since these procedures are done in many settings. Population based data are used to estimate annual sterilization numbers.
We analyzed data on 4,928 men and 7,643 women from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. We determined the year of vasectomy in men and the year of tubal ligation in women who reported a history of surgical sterilization. After accounting for the complex survey design of the National Survey of Family Growth we calculated the estimated number of individuals who underwent surgical sterilization in the United States.
A total of 141 men reported vasectomy, representing an overall 6% prevalence in National Survey of Family Growth survey population, while 1,173 women (16%) reported tubal ligation. Using National Survey of Family Growth data an estimated 175,000 to 354,000 vasectomies were done yearly from 1998 to 2002. In the same period the National Survey of Family Growth estimated that 546,000 to 789,000 tubal ligations were done annually in the United States. This compares closely to the 596,000 to 687,000 tubal ligations calculated using ambulatory surgery and hospital discharge data from a similar period.
The estimated annual number of tubal ligations from the National Survey of Family Growth is in line with the current literature using hospital discharge and ambulatory surgery registries, suggesting the accuracy of the method of estimating surgical sterilization numbers. This suggests that the National Survey of Family Growth may be used to provide an estimate of vasectomy use in the United States.