PETA’s Vasectomy Campaign Hurtful to the Infertile

Numerous couples struggle in silence with infertility, never talking openly about how desperately they are trying to have a baby.  The emotional pain of wanting a child that they can not easily conceive takes a toll on their relationships with their friends, families and even their spouses.

So when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced that they would be holding a contest for a free vasectomy during National Infertility Awareness Week later this month, how could it be seen as anything other than a callous mocking of the infertility community?

Via Babble:

Keiko Zoll, who writes at Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed, and serves as the Advocacy Committee Chair for RESOLVE of New England, says the problem is not with the contest itself, but rather with the fact that PETA has chosen to run it during NIAW, a week dedicated to sharing facts and busting myths and misconceptions about infertility.

Zoll explained “[t]hat PETA has specifically stated this campaign is ‘in honor of’ National Infertility Awareness Week strikes such an insolent, cruel tone with our community.”

She went on to point out that “NIAW is hardly a ‘celebration’ of being infertile, as PETA would have the public believe with this ridiculous publicity stunt. Their campaign makes a mockery of NIAW at the expense of a valid medical patient community of over 7.3 million people in the United States alone.”

PETA, who “apologized” via Facebook, stated that they weren’t trying to offend anyone but were simply trying to reach the “many people who wish to be sterilized,” even though that likely isn’t any of the people who would be interested in National Infertility Awareness Week.  But the offensive nature of the campaign was worth it to them in order to get the free publicity.  “We know that this offer might raise a few eyebrows,” said PETA,  “but it will also raise awareness by generating the kind of media coverage of the cat and dog overpopulation crisis that money could never buy.”

In some ways, this is emblematic of PETA’s inability to know where to draw the line.  A neutering campaign with a free vasectomy winner could have garnered the attention of the media on it’s own, and still had some of the traditional shock value that is a PETA trademark.  But by tying it to the infertility community, they added in the element of utter tastelessness and unnecessary offensiveness that sadly also defines the group.


photo from wikimedia commons


Andrea H.
Andrea Hoyt6 years ago

James G... I can't speak for PETA, and frankly, I'm turned off by their bumbling up of a lot of great causes. I like to have facts from all sides so I watched the video on the web link you posted. I'm speechless. The massive oversimplification of the issues and lack of over half of facts is... again... speechless. Please keep an open mind and look at all the facts. Though I believe we are overpopulating this planet, I am not a "baby hater". I just believe we all have a responsibility to each other to not 'take our half out of the middle' by having more than two children. One child to take the place of each parent.
Armand F... I love that you have taken these children in as your own. I wish more people in the world could open their hearts like you. Your statement, "they have brought more joy to my life than any biological child could have", makes me sad. I have two biological children that I would lay down my life for. They are my joy. I believe I could feel the same for any child that came into my care as well.

James Guthrie jr
James Guthrie jr6 years ago

The only good thing about PETAs campaign is that it will lead to the self eradication of a generation of nimwits brainwashed by the overpopulation myth ( By not reproducing, they are doing humanity a favor but not for the reasons they think. We don't need more human baby haters like James Jay Lee.

Nelson Petrie
Nelson Petrie6 years ago

What's wrong with PETA'S campaign? I think world population needs to be controlled. The world population has exceeded the earth's carrying capacity. And those infertile couples who want babies - there are millions of babies waiting to be adopted all over the world. I'm not being insensitive to the needs of infertile couples. But right now the planet has reached the stage where if drastic steps are not taken to reduce the planet's population -despite what the RC Church and other evangelical and fundamentalist churches say - the earth's resources will completely disappear. Already scientists in their latest warnings have concluded that within this century all marine life will be extinct. So if PETA holds this vasectomy campaign I'm all for it and PETA NEEDS TO BE ENCOURAGED in all its ventures and campaigns!

Lyn N.
Neela N6 years ago

PETA has bought a tremendous amount of attention to those that need help, and that wouldn't have happened is they weren't as some say 'over the top'. Man has been using and abusing animals in horrific ways and most people would never know some of these things if they weren't so outspoken. All the undercover work that they have done have brought significant changes to animal welfare and to a lesser extent envirermental issues. People, please get off PETAs' back.

All in all, people are to blame for ALL of the problems we are having with our world today and we need more organizations like PETA who don't dance around issues, so don't get offended by something relatively petty and they don't have to be sensitive to couples who can't concieve and I doubt it was a 'callous mocking of the infertility community' as stated above.

jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago


Alicia A.
Alicia A.6 years ago

Marga and others concerned about overpopulation-perhaps if you are concerned about overpopulation and you are within typical child-rearing years, you could consider adoption. Why is adoption just for people with infertility? Is adoption a good idea for people who are presumably fertile?

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Insensitive, but not surprising when PETA is involved. What's next? This is the sort of stunts that prevent me from donating to PETA.

Marga Eleonora S.
eleonora s6 years ago

In an overpopulated world, being unfertile can be taken as a sign that you are bound for something else...

Alicia A.
Alicia A.6 years ago

As someone who has considered adoption, I don't think most people understand the process involved in adopting. To adopt from most countries, you must be a married couple. In the US, the birth mother typically selects the adoptive parents, you need to be sensitive to her needs and situation. For example, she may want to visit the child throughout his/her life. This situation is growing more and more common. Also, both the man and woman in the relationship must agree to adopt. One party may be open to adoption while the other may be completely opposed. Also, there is a waiting period where the mother can change her mind in the United States. So, once a couple has the baby, that child can be taken from them along with the money that was given to the mother for medical expenses. International adoption has difficulties as well. Can you imagine going to China for WEEKS to adopt a child. Most people who say, "Oh just adopt," have never considered the lengthy and involved process. Also, adoption can cost thousands of dollars. I'm sure most people involved with PETA have NEVER considered adoption. I do want to say that adoption can be a great experience for some people, it's just not for everyone. If your involved with PETA and firmly believe in their message, I encourage you to consider adoption versus having your own biological child.

Amber M.
Amber Beasley6 years ago

I don't see the big deal. some people don't want to have kids.
btw, if those "infertile" people would give Natural Family Planning (also know as the Fertility Awareness Method) they may find that they aren't truly infertile at all.