Dr. Doug Stein - Vasectomy Idealist

Dr. Doug Stein’s bizarre claim to fame is that he’s performed more vasectomies than anyone, ever. At the time of this film, he had performed more than 30,000 vasectomies in the US, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa.

A vasectomy is a quick, outpatient surgical procedure performed on males to permanently prevent pregnancy. It very effectively eliminates the possibility of sperm reaching an egg through intercourse by preventing sperm from inclusion in semen in the male reproductive system.

Traditional vasectomies require injections of local anesthesia and two incisions — one on each side of the scrotum to provide access to the vas deferens, the duct that conveys sperm from the testis to the ejaculatory ducts where it awaits ejaculation through the urethra and the penis. The vas ducts are then snipped, clipped, cauterized or redirected, depending on the method chosen by the surgeon to prevent sperm from leaving the testis.

In contrast, Dr. Stein’s method is unique. Using a small amount of local anesthetic spray, he makes one tiny puncture and clips both vas ducts in a matter of minutes. A tiny whiff of singed vas deferens and he’s done. His vasectomies are cheap, quick, painless and claimed quite reliable with failure about one in 2000.

Vasectomy: A Global Mission

What really sets the good doctor apart, though, is his global mission — to stop world overpopulation through his highly refined and replicable male contraceptive technique. And this is what The Vasectomist is really about.

With a perfected technique, the doctor hits the road in Florida peddling no-scalpel and no-needle vasectomies to guys craving peace of mind and a quiet house. The camera rolls capturing Dr. Stein loading and unloading totes of supplies for his pop-up vasectomy clinics advertised by portable signs in parking lots and strip malls. He takes a new patient about every fifteen minutes. His follow-up phone calls after dark take place at 70 mph on the toll way. Dr. Stein is a busy man.

Dr. Stein expanded his mission to reach overseas where his global population values, slick technique and financial incentives collide with local values, faith and culture.

The doctor is delighted when guys line up for their vasectomies and spin stories of 26 kids and this, thanks to Doug Stein, is where population mayhem stops. With assistance, he can do about a hundred procedures in a day. Met with resistance, though, from the mayor and Catholic church sexuality educator, Dr. Stein goes toe-to-toe with locals and resorts to monetary incentives to convince guys to get vasectomies.

The Vasectomist raises important issues which may rile you. I was startled by the lack of patient education both before and following the procedure which made me wonder if patients could really frame their decision in the context of their future reproductive opportunities. The doctor’s efforts to persuade through pressure on local officials as well as incentive techniques seemed to weigh more toward his goals than the likelihood that a patient was selling his fertility for twenty bucks.

Watch it for yourself. You’ll enjoy the snappy vasectomy technique.

The Vasectomist

Directors: Jonathan Stack, Saralena Weinfield
Star: Doug Stein
Year: 2013
Running Time: 52 minutes
The Vasectomist on IMDb
At the time of this writing, available on Netflix.