Immune-related disease before and after vasectomy: an epidemiological database study.
Goldacre MJ., Wotton CJ., Seagroatt V., Yeates D.
BACKGROUND: Vasectomy can be followed by an autoimmune-antibody response. We aimed to determine whether men with immune-related diseases were more or less likely than others to have a vasectomy and then to determine whether vasectomy is associated with the subsequent development of immune-related diseases. METHODS: A database of linked records of hospital statistics was analysed. By comparing a population of men who underwent vasectomy with a reference population, we calculated the rate ratios for selected immune-related diseases before and after vasectomy. RESULTS: Some diseases studied (e.g. asthma and diabetes mellitus) were a little less common, prior to operation, in the vasectomy group than in the reference group. Others were not different. The mean period of follow-up was 13 years. We found no long-term elevation of risk following vasectomy of asthma, diabetes mellitus, ankylosing spondylitis, thyrotoxicosis, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis or testicular atrophy. There was a short-term elevation of risk of orchitis/epididymitis. CONCLUSIONS: In this large study, with many years of follow-up, we found no evidence that vasectomy increases the subsequent long-term risk of immune-related diseases.