‘Female sterilisation procedures drive family planning’

Men take a backseat fearing loss of virility.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Published:June 4, 2014 1:00 am

Data gathered from the state family welfare bureau indicates the growing contribution of women in family planning in the last three years, with total recorded female sterilisation procedures in just 2013-2014 reaching a significant nine lakh as opposed to an abysmally low count of male sterilisation procedures at 17,972.

A recent noticeable change is the increasing use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) by women. Since 2011-2012, while vasectomy procedures have dipped by 11.7 per cent from 20,357 to 17,972 procedures in 2013-2014, IUD procedures have jumped by 12.29 per cent and reached an all time high of 4.1 lakh cases this year. In 2011-2012 there were 3.6 lakh IUD cases reported from all over the state which further rose to 3.7 lakh in 2012-2013.

IUDs are temporary sterilisation options for women that last for 10 years. A t-shaped device is inserted in the woman’s womb to prevent discharge of ovum from fallopian tube. Vasectomy and tubectomy are permanent sterilisation procedures in men and women, respectively. While in vasectomy, surgical intervention prevents sperm ejaculation, in tubectomy the fallopian tubes in a woman’s uterus are cut and tied to block ovum discharge.

According to figures obtained from the state family welfare bureau, cases of tubectomy have marginally increased in the last few years. From 4.7 lakh procedures recorded in 2011-2012, the count escalated to 4.8 lakh in 2013-2014.

However, family planning experts believe that both vasectomy and tubectomy are witnessing a decline owing to its permanent nature as against temporary procedures likes IUDs or contraceptive pills.

Officials also said that even the current IUD figures are under reported. “There are more IUD procedures taking place nowadays because they are temporary and a child can be planned later by the couple,” said Minakshi Khetkade, MIS (management information system) consultant for the state’s family welfare bureau.

Despite providing monetary incentive of Rs 1,451 (including Rs 351 from state) for vasectomy, almost double of the incentive enlisted for tubectomy which is Rs 600, attempts to woo men have hit rock-bottom. Dr Padmaja Keskar, BMC executive health officer, said, “Civic department has carried out awareness drives to attract more men for vasectomy. The surgery takes less than an hour and work can be resumed in a day. Despite all our attempts, women are expected to go under the knife.”

Compared to tubectomy, which is indicated to have post-operative complications, vasectomy is a less risky procedure, said health experts.

However, myths have taken precedence over monetary incentives or advertisements. Dr Anup Ramana, a urologist, said most men still believed sterilisation could affect their sexual powers and prefer to take a backseat as far as family planning was concerned. “Another factor is probably because the procedure is irreversible. Although now another surgery can be done to undo vasectomy, its results are not 100 per cent,” Ramana said.

Additionally, IUDs take five minutes to be inserted and guarantee contraception which make it a popular sterilisation choice, Ramana added.

Tabassum.barnagarwala@expressindia.com

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