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Roles for men in family planning


Family planning. PHOTO:

Simply put, family planning is the practice of controlling the number of children in a family and the intervals between their births, particularly by means of contraception or voluntary sterilization..

This is increasingly becoming important as a result of the soaring cost of living in contemporary Nigeria, as well as ensuring that children are afforded the best in the midst of meagre resources.

However, in most cases, women are the ones that are turned to, or who bear the brunt, when it comes to controlling pregnancies with contraceptive methods (including orally consumed drugs), as well as, implants or surgical operation.


But men can effectively contribute their quota to family planning by getting a vasectomy, which is a surgical procedure for male sterilisation or permanent contraception.

During the procedure, the male vas deferens are cut and tied, or sealed so as to prevent sperm from entering into the urethra, thereby preventing fertilisation.

According to Dr. Newton Walter Okoh of George’s Memorial Hospital, during vasectomy, the vas deferens, which is the pipe that carries the sperm from the testicles to the penis, is cut off, so there is no flow of sperm. Once this is successfully done, the woman automatically cannot be impregnated.

He explained that the percentage of men getting involved in vasectomy was still very low, same with its awareness level, and this is because majority of the contraception being practised are via drugs and implants made exclusively for women.

“But when it comes to permanent contraception, in a situation where the woman did not have Caesarean section (delivered vaginally), the male option is a very viable one.

Instead of the woman going for operation just for the purpose of preventing a pregnancy from occurring, it is easier and much cheaper for the man to do a vasectomy.

However, if a woman wants a permanent contraception method, and she would be having a Caesarean section, I think it would be fine to do it during the birthing of the baby.”

Okoh, who described our society as a male-dominated one that recognises men more than the women, added, “With a lot of discussions around women empowerment, women are getting more informed and enlightened. They know that a man can do a vasectomy, which is easier and cheaper.

It is a procedure that can even be done in a doctor’s office, while for a woman, she has to be admitted and cut open. So, with this argument, vasectomy is the best option.

“However, I think majority of men will prefer to have a vasectomy and be sure they cannot impregnate a woman again only after they have gotten the number of children they want, and doing so would be of great advantage to them.

This procedure doesn’t affect erection, while sexual drive is still as adequate as it should be.

“Having said that, counseling is ideal in order to encourage men to get involved in taking this option of contraception.

If a couple is counselled together, and they are made to appreciate the pros and cons, I think many men will opt for this, except they want other options that are not surgical which are only available to women.”

Okoh, who informed that researches were on to produce drugs that men can orally take as contraception, added that “more men were getting involved in vasectomy because they are getting enlightened.”

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