Frenchmen are taking 'vasectomy awaydays' to Britain

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The Independent Online

A "vasectomy tourism service" is being launched today so that Frenchmen can come to Britain for a day-trip and snip to avoid a Napoleonic law that forbids the operation across the Channel.

A "vasectomy tourism service" is being launched today so that Frenchmen can come to Britain for a day-trip and snip to avoid a Napoleonic law that forbids the operation across the Channel.

The contraceptive choice of nearly one in five men in Britain is forbidden in France because a 19th-century code describes the procedure as self-mutilation and doctors performing vasectomies risk criminal charges.

The British service is being offered by Marie Stopes International (MSI), which provides reproductive health care. It has been trying to advertise vasectomies in France for nearly a year, but many media owners have refused to accept its posters and press advertisements for fear of prosecution.

Vasectomy is a simple surgical procedure performed under local anaesthetic; it stops sperm being ejaculated.

Bernard Schnakenbourg, a 47-year-old financial administrator with one child, from the Essonne area just outside Paris, will be the first Frenchman to benefit from the service, which he found on the internet.

"I am prepared to travel to the UK to access a vasectomy because my partner and I do not want any more children and I think it is only fair that couples share the responsibility for contraception within a relationship," he said.

He is being operated on today by MSI's chief executive, Dr Tim Black, who has performed an estimated 15,000 vasectomies during his career.

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