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To describe some of the characteristics of men who underwent a vasectomy in the public health network of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.A descriptive study including 202 men randomly selected from a list of all the men vasectomized between 1998 and 2004 in the public health network.Most of the men were 30 years of age or older when vasectomized, had completed elementary school and had two or more children of both sexes. Most of the men came from the lowest income segment of the population: 47.6% in 1998–1999 and 61.3% in 2003–2004. Although the men knew various contraceptive methods, 51.2% reported that their partners were using combined oral contraceptives at the time of surgery. Most men initially sought information on vasectomy at health-care clinics where care was provided by a multidisciplinary team; most received counselling, however, 47.9% of the men waited more than 4 months for the vasectomy.The profile of the vasectomized men in this study appears to indicate that the low-income population from Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil has access to vasectomy; however, the waiting time for vasectomy reveals that difficulties exist in obtaining this contraceptive method in the public health service.