Expert Speak

Why don’t Indian men choose vasectomy for family planning?

Dr Paras Shah speaks to Team Bonobology about why a majority of the procedures for family planning in India are borne by women
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paras shah newDr Paras Shah is the Chief Sexologist, Gujarat Research and Medical Institute and Director, Sannidhya Institute and Research Center for Sex, Sexuality and Health.

 

(As told to Aarti Pathak)

Family planning options for married couples

In today’s scenario there are a plethora of choices for family planning available for couples to choose from. Depending upon a couple’s age and need, doctors can decide what one can go for.

For newly married couples, the male contraceptive condom works best and the contraceptive pills for women are popular too. Couples who have one child and don’t want more children for few years can go in for copper T.

Couples who have completed family planning and do not wish to have any more kids (and their younger child is at least 5 years old), can go for permanent family planning methods, namely tubectomy (for women) and vasectomy (for men).

Tubectomy

The fallopian tubes transfer the ovum (egg) from the ovaries to the uterus. In a tubectomy, the doctors cut and tie the fallopian tubes at a particular point, thus stopping the transfer of the ovum to the uterus and preventing future pregnancies.

Vasectomy

The vas deferens in a man’s scrotum carries sperms to the urethra. In a vasectomy, it is cut and blocked off, so the sperm can’t leave the body and cause pregnancy. It is a simple bloodless surgery and one can go home in an hour.

Unfortunately in our society, in spite of the fact that vasectomy is a simple procedure, men do not prefer it. Out of 100 procedures for family planning, only about ten are for vasectomy. A shocking 90% are tubectomies borne by women! It is quite unfair that the female carries the child for 9 months, then goes through delivery and then has to go for an ‘additional’ surgery for family planning.

Related reading: How safe is it to pop in an emergency contraceptive pill after unsafe sex?

sad man with doctor
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Why do men avoid vasectomy?

Men avoid vasectomy due to the numerous myths associated with them:

End of sex drive

Many men think if vasectomy is done, their sex drive will end. This is not true. The only thing that vasectomy stops is the ability to produce children, not the ability to enjoy sexual life. A man who has had this procedure done can have sex even up till his last breath!

End of ejaculation

Again not true. About 69% secretions come from seminal vesicles, 30% come from prostate gland and only 1% of ejaculation is the semen. Hence, after the surgery the quantity of ejaculation remains the same. Did you know that?

End of erection

Vasectomy does not affect erections at all.

End of manhood

Since the longest time, popular culture and Bollywood has been making fun of vasectomy by equating it to the end of a man’s manhood. It does not affect a man’s manner, strength, gait, voice or anything about him. The influence that the film industry wields on the subconscious of the society is astounding and it has single-handedly caused more damage to the family planning movement than anything else. This has hurt women the most, as due to the stigma attached to vasectomy, women are pushed to go in for tubectomy.

Related reading: How not to get pregnant without using a condom?

Who will go to the doctor?

Role of gynaecologists

Most women are advised by their gynaecologists to go for a tubectomy, as that is their area of expertise. But gynaecologists must also educate the women/couples visiting them about vasectomy. That it is a safe and healthy option, simpler than tubectomy and that it will not affect their sex life negatively.

Who will tell the man?

Many men stay aloof to the permanent family planning procedures and their benefits. Unlike women who may be visiting a gynaecologist from a young age for numerous reasons (menstruation, pregnancies, deliveries, post natal care, PCOD), men do not meet a surgeon unless they have certain conditions. Hence they do not meet doctors for themselves and it literally comes down to – who will tell the men?

experts advice

Tubectomy and vasectomy are reversible procedures

If one wants more children, then reopening is possible. It is not that easy, but can definitely be done. The surgery is a microsurgery, as the tubes are very fine

Q. After vasectomy, my sperms will get collected in my body and not get released. Will that hurt me?

A: No, that will not harm you in any way. It is just protein and sucrose and will stay inside the testicles.

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3 Comments

  1. Awesome piece..Highlights an important debate and also raises questions on how important “manhood” is in this patriarchal society..Always pushing women under the knife is being man enough, right?

  2. I could not be prouder of bonobology for writing this piece and sharing it with the masses… This could easily be the first piece that I have come across on the internet that speaks about why ligate only women… Kudos!

    1. Dear Amita,
      Your words and appreciation mean a lot to us at Bonobology! It is encouragement such as this that keeps us putting our best, 24/7.
      🙂
      Aarti

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