With the emergence of scarce resources around the world comes the need to check the population growth rate. Different theories have been propounded by scholars to explain why scare resources and an increasing world population will be detrimental and different methods have been suggested to help control the world’s population growth rate. Family planning in my opinion is the most brilliant idea yet.
For decades there have been wide spread sensitization on the benefits of family planning in almost every country worldwide. With bodies like WHO and UNICEF and other NGOs putting hands together to fight this cause ,almost every clinic now have nurses who talk to pregnant women during antenatal meetings on the benefits of family planning, child spacing and the use of contraceptives .
China seems to have set the pace for other countries when it comes to population control by setting a limit to the number of children allowed per family to one and recently reviewed the child limit to two children per family.
When the topic of family planning is raised, men are quick to point a finger at the women in their lives because of the notion that family planning and child spacing is a woman’s business. This idea of leaving family planning to women has been around for an awfully long time and is still wide spread because of inadequate or lack of sensitization on the roles of a man in family planning.
Furthermore, it is true that a plethora of birth control methods are available to women but most of them have proven to have negative side effects on women who adopt these methods. The available fertility control measures are classified into two, namely the preventive measure and the barrier measure. The preventive measures work to prevent the fertilization of eggs while the barrier measures work to intercept the sperm before it makes any contact with the eggs during sex. Under these preventive and barrier measures we also have subgroups of contraceptive methods. These subgroups are; the hormonal contraceptive methods, the natural contraceptive method, The barrier methods, and the surgical sterilization method.
Hormonal Contraceptive Methods
- Birth control implants: These implants are 99% effective
- Birth control patch: These are effective but could be less effective is plus size or overweight women.
- Birth control pills: birth control pills are also 99% effective if they are taken regularly and no does is skipped
- Birth control shot
- Vaginal ring
Natural Contraceptive Methods
- Breast feeding
- Withdrawal method
- Cervical caps
- Vasectomy (for men)
- Tubal litigation (for women)
Most of the above-mentioned fertility control measures are for women and the side effects are quite alarming. Some of the side effects of using these female specific birth control measures include but are not restricted to the following: vagina discharge, weight gain and water retention, decreased libido, mood changes, nausea, headaches and migraine, spotting, risk of contracting a urinary tract infection, allergic reactions, toxic shock syndrome, depression, blood cloth, puncture or perforation of the uterus in cases of IUD use, heavier than normal menstrual flow, and even heart attacks.
The Role of a Man in Birth Control
Though some men hate to admit it, but men have an equal role to play when it comes to birth control in a family. While it is true that some men support their wives when birth control measures are adopted, the still do not share the consequences of the dangerous side effects that follow.
However, the options for birth control currently available to men are restricted to vasectomy, condoms and the withdrawal method. Condoms have recently enjoyed an increased amount of usage worldwide, but its efficiency cannot be guaranteed because of its fragile nature (ability to break while in use). Condoms however doubles as a sexually transmitted infection preventive measure so the claim that its recent increase in use is because as a means of unwanted pregnancy prevention is questionable. The withdrawal method is also not a guaranteed measure for pregnancy prevention because it is possible to pass sperm even before ejaculation. This leaves us with vasectomy.
What Is Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a surgical method of fertility control that involves cutting and sealing the vas deferens to prevent sperm cells from traveling through semen. Recent studies show that quite large number of men in Africa have never heard about vasectomy and those who have heard about it mistake it for castration.
Unlike other family planning methods, vasectomy has not received the required attention to gain enough popularity world over. As we know, every surgical procedure is at risk of infection and vasectomy is no exception. The side effects of vasectomy are nothing compared to those of the other female exclusive fertility methods. Pains and swelling may occur after the procedure but they should only last for a very short time frame. Thus, once you get past the initial pains and swelling from after the surgery you should not expect further side effects if your vasectomy was properly done.
However, it is still very possible to get a woman pregnant after you must have had a vasectomy. This is so because for the first few months, you will still have traces of sperm on the other side of your vas deferens. For this reason, people who have vasectomy are encouraged to ejaculate as much as possible during first three month after their surgery. This is to eliminate every trace of sperm in your ejaculations. Vasectomy is over 99% effective against unwanted pregnancies.
Is Vasectomy castration?
Vasectomy is in no way castration. When you have a vasectomy, you can still have sex as much as you used to. Your libido is not affected, neither is your ability to have and maintain an erection. The only thing that changes after a vasectomy is your representative ability. Vasectomy is however irreversible, but on very few occasions there has been reports of reversal. Because it is irreversible you are advised to have had your desired number of children before you have a vasectomy.
Vasectomy is safe, effective and does not have life threatening side effects. But if you cannot stand the thoughts of becoming sterile then vasectomy is probably not for you. Although vasectomy is a barrier method of family planning, it doesn’t double as an STI preventive measure.