By Charles Ochieng
I wish people understood that for men and women whose families are complete a vasectomy is the best family planning method. As things stand now, if a man is serious about not having any more children and cares for his wife’s well-being, there is no more responsible, safe or reliable option. And although there are many options for women from a biological perspective, she should be very cautious about using contraception. A woman’s fertility is auto regulated by natural mechanisms and many of the modern forms of contraception can cause unanticipated problems.
Firstly, a woman produces two eggs per month. Compare this to a man who releases 40 million to 150 million sperms per ejaculation and can easily ejaculate several times a day depending on his age. For women, their fertility is fine-tuned and precise. For men, it is not so much. Secondly, once a woman conceives, she cannot conceive for the next 9 months, while on the other hand, the man can make other women pregnant. Clearly, for men who fail to take family planning seriously, they can cause multiple pregnancies. Thirdly, a woman can reach menopause at 45 years, but a man reaches climecterus at 90 or later.
Still, we all know that family planning activities are skewed towards women globally. All you have to do is visit any family planning clinic in Haiti, in Kenya, in the Philippines and you will find queues of women with their children clutched on their backs…and often no men represented at all.
Today, there are at least 13 birth control methods in the market for women. For men, there are only two choices; condoms whose failure rate is 18% and Vasectomy. Truthfully, sometimes I wonder why we call it Family Planning and when we can all see clearly that it is women who shoulder all the responsibility and who have been given all the tools. This is why we continue to see high population growth rates in many parts of the world with negative consequences like food scarcity, unemployment, insecurity, terrorism and poor health care.
World Vasectomy Day is an idea that integrates the personal choice a man and his wife make with the social consequences bringing life into existence causes society. Its time has come and this November 18th, we in Kenya are honored to serve as its headquarters. It will give all of us a chance to critically analyze our family planning models to make them more just and gender sensitive.
Photo: Getty Images