With vasectomies on the rise, and more childless men opting for the procedure than ever before, Sustainable Population Australia welcomes World Vasectomy Week (November 13-20). SPA says that when a man has a vasectomy it is ‘an act of love’ towards his wife or partner, but the organisation would also like to see a greater focus on other contraception methods.
Sustainable Population Australia’s National President Ms Jenny Goldie believes that for too long women bore the primary responsibility for family planning.
‘Vasectomies allowed men to share particular responsibility,’ said Ms Goldie. ‘Nevertheless, sterilisation of either sex, namely vasectomy and tubal ligation, has now been superseded by better methods.
‘The introduction of the Mirena (progestogen releasing intrauterine device) a couple of decades ago was a revolution in women’s health because not only is it as reliable a contraceptive as sterilisation, but it has health benefits,’ she said.
‘For example, hysterectomy for menstrual problems is about twice as likely after sterilisation than when a Mirena is used. Furthermore, nurses can be taught IUD insertion whereas male and female sterilisation are operations with potential surgical complications.’
Ms Goldie says that despite this, where there is a paucity of medical care, vasectomy may be the better option.
‘Unfortunately for developing countries, properly set up family planning clinics are often found wanting,’ she said. ‘There can be disastrous results of this – shocking women’s health as well as too many babies being born.
‘The British college of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has done great work in setting up family planning clinics, particularly in Africa. Unfortunately, the Australian college has a long way to go in this respect.’
Ms Goldie says that SPA looks forward to celebrating, not World Vasectomy Week, but World Contraception Week, which showcases the full range of contraceptive methods available.
‘We need to highlight the gaps in the provision of contraception and then, knowing where they are, do our best to fill those gaps with well-funded and well-staffed clinics,’ she said.