Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Health Department offers no-scalpel vasectomies

BROOKSVILLE — A vasectomy brochure from the Nature Coast Community Health Center shows smiling men of different races and their female partners holding each other close.

Inside the folded piece of paper, it reads, "15 minutes … No scalpel … No needle … Nothing removed."

And this: "Many say 'painless.' "

The Hernando County Health Department is better known for its family planning programs that focus on women. The staff offers information on abstinence and natural family planning methods, and provides Norplant, Depo-Provera, birth control pills, contraceptive film, condoms, diaphragms and intrauterine devices.

Since 2002, however, the Health Department has quietly offered an affordable alternative for men: the no-scalpel vasectomy. A total of 225 counseled men in Hernando have had the sterilization done in the past six years.

Depending on a man's salary, medical insurance and his family size, the procedure can be free or cost up to $300. For example, based on a sliding scale, a man with a net income of $19,000 and a family of four would be eligible for a free vasectomy.

"We get men of all ages," said Carolyn Wilfong, nursing director of the vasectomy program. "Young ones, old ones, some who have never had kids, others with many kids. They usually hear about them on our doctor's billboards or from a buddy who had one done. In June, we have seven guys on the list."

Most men who have the procedure done in Hernando are white and between the ages of 26 and 38. Health Department statistics show that the youngest man was 21 and the oldest was 62.

So far, eight black men have had vasectomies, along with eight Hispanic men. Those who opt to have a vasectomy usually fit into low- to middle-income brackets, have no insurance and pay up to $150.

"We rarely get the guy who pays the full $300," Wilfong said.

Federal family planning funds help pay for the program, and for urologist Douglas Stein to perform the 15-minute procedure. Stein is in Hernando every other month on Thursday afternoons.

After watching a DVD narrated by the doctor who explains how no-scalpel vasectomies are done, men who elect to have one must wait 30 days. Wilfong also makes sure to have a thorough discussion with each person to make sure he understands it's considered a permanent procedure.

But by the time most men are sitting in front of her, the nurse said, the decision's already been made.

"A lot of times, their partners are getting ready to turn 35, and might smoke or have other reasons why they can't take birth control or have a tubal ligation," Wilfong said. "No-scalpel vasectomies are a safer, less-invasive option."

So what exactly does it mean to have a no-scalpel vasectomy? Stein explains it like this on his Web site:

After spraying on an anesthetic solution to the scrotum, he makes a tiny opening with a pair of sharp scissors. Through that small hole, he's able to access the left and right vas tubes. The doctor divides the tubes by cauterizing one end to create scar tissue, and then places a small clip between the ends to keep them out of alignment.

No stitches are required because the hole is so small. Men with desk jobs can return to work the next day. Those who have more physical jobs are asked to wait to go back to work the next Monday. The procedures are done in Hernando on Thursdays. The men all leave wearing support.

"It really is a simple procedure," she said. "The recovery time is much less with the men, and it's cheaper."

Chandra Broadwater can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432.

>>Learn More

What men can do

For more information about vasectomies, go to Dr. Douglas Stein's Web site at, or call the Nature Coast Community Health Center at 540-6800, ext. 82120. For more information about the Nature Coast Community Health Center, go to

Hernando Health Department offers no-scalpel vasectomies 04/27/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  2. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says


    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.

  3. Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale


    NEW YORK — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

  4. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl


    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]