vasectomy, birth control, family planning, stress-free sex, the Pill, IUD, implant

In an ideal world, when a couple has completed their family, the man will gaze lovingly and proudly at his wife, who’s borne him several beautiful, healthy babies, and say: “That’ll do babe, that’ll do,” and pop off up the road to Dr Snip, stat!

Unfortunately, in real life, things don’t always work out this perfectly and many men seem to be more than a tad anxious about, and unwilling to get, a vasectomy.

For me, this is a tad surprising and unfair – why can’t a vasectomy be a completely liberating experience for both parties, given it relieves a couple from the anxiety and fear of an unwanted pregnancy? Why should a woman have to take sole responsibility for birth control and family planning. And surely, by having a vasectomy, a man will then experience the best stress-free sex he’s ever had?

So, why won’t your man put his, erm, balls on the line, so to speak?

A vasectomy is an operation designed to sterilise a man by cutting the tubes that allow sperm to leave the testicles. And, let’s do some myth-busting right here – contrary to popular thought, a man’s sex drive, production of sex hormones and ability to reach orgasm are all unaffected by the procedure. But try telling that to your average red-blooded male who’s more than a little, erm, attached to his penis – literally.

In fact, easy for me to say, I guess, but compared with say, a caesarean, a vasectomy sounds like a walk in the park. There’s no six-week recovery and weeks of constant pain here, just a few days of rest and a bruised and tender scrotum, by contrast. And men can even usually resume sex a few days afterward?!

And while the times, they are a changing – the inaugural World Vasectomy Day was held in Adelaide on October 18, 2013 and was said to be the largest male-oriented global family planning event ever – you might want to investigate the new birth control on offer, post-babies, if your man is still wary of the procedure.

Get thee to a GP, for all birth control has pros and cons, costs involved and you may need to be patient and experiment to see what works best. In addition, you must always also use a condom (pictured) to safeguard against STIs if not in a monogamous relationship. Here are some fast facts on a few of the main, popular birth control:

The Pill: Old-school, but if it works for you, the Pill is 98 per cent effective. Oral pills, taken daily, which are the oral synthetic form of the hormones progesterone and estrogen can act as birth control and also improve menstrual problems like heavy bleeding, pelvic cramps and pain and irregular cycles. The downside is if you are forgetful, this one could prove problematic as you have to take it at the same time each day.

IUD: There’s a lot of hype about the Mirena and GPs seem to push this one a lot. Are they getting kickbacks? An intrauterine device (IUD) is a T-shaped pliable plastic rod with an attached thread that is inserted by a trained GP or nurse into the uterus through the cervix. There are two main types of IUDs: progestin-releasing IUD such as Mirena and Skyla and the Copper-coil IUD (ParaGard). Costs vary, but it can be up to 99 per cent effective. I’ve heard both good and bad things about this one.

Implant: This is a matchstick-size rod implanted under the inner arm skin, which lasts up to three years. It’s said to be 99 per cent effective. Once implanted, the rod releases a hormone into your body. Much like any other hormonal form of contraception (like the Pill), it stops the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. One rod prevents pregnancies for up to three years. This one seems to have a long list of side effects, but some women love it.

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