Choosing a birth control method that is suitable for you and your family is very important. Only you can decide what is best for you and your circumstances. But sometimes trying to choose the correct method can be a bit overwhelming.
Family planning includes all common methods of birth control, such as the pill, the injection, male and female condoms. The more uncommon methods that are not readily available in South Africa would be the patch, diaphragms and spermicides. The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is one of the most effective methods, sometimes referred to as ‘reversible sterilisation’.
Types of contraception
For individuals or families that do not wish to have any more children, there are two forms of permanent contraception; vasectomies (male sterilisation) and tubal ligation (female sterilisation).
Talk to a doctor/family planning sister/health educator/sterilisation representative that can answer all your questions and present the pros and cons of choice you are making. Make sure you are fully informed.
There are advantages and disadvantages to being sterilised. The biggest advantage is that there is no longer any reason to worry about falling pregnant and therefore no need for the pill, injection, etc. The biggest disadvantage is that the procedure must be considered permanent.
If you are in a marriage or long-term relationship, you should discuss and make the decision together as it will affect both of you.
Consider that your needs/wants may change in the future. If you do not want any more children now, is there a possibility that through the death of a child or spouse, or a divorce, that you may change your mind? Individuals that chose to be sterilised under the age of 30 could later regret that decision.
Although it is a considered a permanent form of birth control, there is a slight chance of pregnancy after sterilisation.
Remember that sterilisation doesn't protect against sexually transmitted diseases. If not in a committed monogamous relationship, a condom is still recommended to help prevent the potential spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
For further information regarding sterilisation please contact your nearest clinic or the Association for Voluntary Sterilization of South Africa (021 – 531 1665) or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Press release, May 2011)