Updated 14 February 2013

Small families more cost effective

The week of 27 to 31 July is Sterilisation Week and the Association for Voluntary Sterilisation of South Africa are encouraging people to consider this form of contraception.


The current economic recession affects everyone, especially those that are trying to raise a family. The cost of living is on the rise, the increase in petrol prices directly affects the cost of food, clothing, services and transport. The unemployment rate is growing due to the closure of companies that cannot survive the increasing cost pressures. Unfortunately families cannot close down or liquidate; somehow they have to survive these rising costs.

”It is infinitely easier to feed and clothe a small family and provide adequate housing, health care and education. Economic growth without reduction in rapid population growth is also unlikely,” says Dr Margaret Moss, chairperson of the Association for Voluntary Sterilisation of South Africa.

Sterilisation is one of the many contraceptive options available to individuals that helps empower them to choose the number of children they wish to have. Sterilisation is the ideal choice for men and women that have decided that their family is complete and they are certain that they do not want any more children.

Male and female sterilisation is a surgical procedure that must be considered irreversible and permanent. The procedure is small, safe and simple without any long-term effects on a person’s health or sexual performance. All patients should be counselled pre-operation to ensure full understanding of the procedure and the significance of their choice.

Female sterilisation
Female sterilisation (having your tubes tied) is usually done laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) under general anaesthetic. The patient is advised to have a few days rest before resuming normal daily activities. During the operation, the surgeon blocks the fallopian tubes so the eggs are no longer carried from the ovaries to the uterus, thus preventing conception. Female sterilisation, after recovery, is effective immediately. Hormone production will continue as normal and therefore the procedure does not affect any other female characteristics.

Male sterilisation
Male sterilisation, vasectomy, is the more simple and effective surgical procedure. This procedure has increased in popularity over the years due to the following factors: no-scalpel vasectomy is done under local anaesthetic, it is performed in about 15 minutes and the patient can resume work the following day. During the operation, the surgeon closes the tubes which carry sperm from the testes to mix with the seminal fluid. Sperm free seminal fluid cannot cause a pregnancy. It is important to continue to use a method of contraception until you have received results from your 3-month test confirming that the operation was successful. The testicles continue to produce male hormones and therefore the procedure does not affect any other masculine characteristics.

Does not prevent STI
Sterilisation does not cure or prevent HIV/Aids or other sexually transmitted diseases. If the individual is not in a mutually monogamous relationship, condoms should still be used for every sexual act.

Female and male sterilisation is performed free at certain state hospitals and community health centres. Enquiries can be made at any family planning clinic or Community Health Centre. Further information, brochures or other educational material on sterilisation please contact AVSSA at 021 531 1665.

Read more:
The benefits of sterilisation
Sterilisations done free of charge


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