Sterilisation, for either the man or the woman,is a quick and a safe procedure without long-term health effects which is available free of charge within many state services. Both male and female sterilisation are surgical procedures that should be regarded as permanent and irreversible (there is no guarantee that it can be reversed).
Neither male nor female sterilisation affects desire or sexual function as hormone production is unaffected. Without the worry of pregnancy some couples find that the desire for sexual expression becomes more spontaneous and more frequent which may lead to a stronger marriage.
How female sterilisation is done
Female sterilisation is usually done under general anaesthetic and the fallopian tubes are closed by application of rings or clips, offering immediate, highly effective protection against pregnancy.
It is cost-effective in the long term with none of the potential health problems associated with some temporary methods. A woman who has undergone sterilisation is spared the common concerns such as side-effects, supply problems, forgetfulness, partner compliance, and the inconvenience of frequent clinic visits.
In addition to its benefit as a contraceptive, sterilisation also effectively protects women.
It may also be done straight after giving birth which eliminates the need for a separate visit to the health facility. The procedure does not extend the normal recovery period after childbirth,does not interfere with milk production or adversely affect the health of the child.
Male sterilisation and the vasectomy
This is the single most effective method of contraception available and allows the man to take responsibility for preventing pregnancy.
Vasectomy can also improve the health of the female partner by eliminating the need for alternate contraception which may have negative side effects. Vasectomy is a smaller, safer and a more effective procedure than female sterilisation. It is usually done under local anaesthetic and the tubes transporting the sperm known as the vasa deferens are cut and tied.
However, it does not cure or prevent HIV/Aids or other sexually transmitted diseases and condoms should be used if at risk of acquiring or transmitting infection.
When considering sterilisation think how the procedure may benefit you and your partner.
For further information regarding sterilisation please contact your nearest clinic or the Association for Voluntary Sterilization of South Africa or visit their website.
(Press release, July 2012)