Making conscious choices are in our very own hands. With a fast paced world, quality of care that one intends on achieving is difficult but possible. And COVID-19 knocking on doors, everyone around us have become vigilant and aware in terms of one's health. Having said that, reproductive health is ignored at the most by individuals. In India, where sex is a taboo, safe sex practices, terms like family planning, abortions (easy when its a girl child, puff), is a far-fetched phenomenon. With the regressive practices in our Indian heartland, 'Contraception' is considered frenzy and sometimes 'unenjoyable'.
September 26, observed as World Contraception Day, calls on all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children. With that, contraceptives play an important role as contraception not only covers aspects of safe sex and prevents incidence of sexually transmitted diseases but majorly plays a role in controlling unintended pregnancies thus furthering family planning decisions.
Awareness about the different kinds of contraceptives available helps individuals make informed choices. The though envisions that not just women, their partners, health care providers, and other key individuals must have as much awareness that they can about contraception.
Contraceptives enable women and adolescent girls to exercise their right to decide whether to be pregnant, enabling women for more socioeconomic opportunities and better health. By reducing rates of unintended pregnancies, contraception also reduces the need for unsafe abortion and reduces HIV transmissions from mothers to newborns.
What are different types of Contraceptive available?
Condoms: Also known as barrier contraceptive as they form a barrier the male and female reproductive organs and thus prevents sperm from entering the vagina. This reduces chances of fertilization and conception does not occur. Condoms, both for men and women, are easily available in the market.
Contraceptive Pills: The birth control pill is a type of contraception that contains hormones, estrogen or/and progesterone, that prevent pregnancy. People call it “the pill” because it comes in pill form. The pill is most effective when you take it for a duration of 21 days or as advised by your doctor, following which 'false period' happens.
The other contraceptive options include Intrauterine device also known as Copper T, which is a long term solution but not a permanent one.
There are permanent sterilisation options for both men and women. Female sterilisation is an operation to permanently prevent pregnancy. The fallopian tubes are blocked or sealed to prevent the eggs reaching the sperm and becoming fertilised. In men, a surgical procedure to cut or seal the tubes that carry a man's sperm to permanently prevent pregnancy, called Vasectomy.
"Snip-Snap, snip-snap, snip-snap", when Michael Scott in 'The Office' expressed his displeasure over the three vasectomies and the physical toll it took on him, we could only imagine what he might have gone through. Thus, making responsible and informed choices like Howard Wolowitz from 'The Big Bang Theory' should be encouraged and not what Jan did!
With that being said, a study by International Center for Research on Women says that India’s family planning campaigns, both by government run health systems and civil society programmes, are focused entirely on women. Thus with that the burden of Contraception falls on the women. Even though men are the decision-makers of households in major parts of India, women have greater awareness about contraception and men remain ill-informed and resentful about family planning practices, the study said.
According to the National Family Health Survey (2015-16), three in eight men believe that “contraception is women’s business and that men should not have to worry about it”. Nearly 20% of men also believe contraception could make a woman “promiscuous”.
Female sterilisation continues to be the preferred mode of family planning among Indian couples between the ages of 15 and 49, with 36% of couples opting for it. Male sterilisation is an option used by only 0.3% of couples, according to the survey. In the decade to 2015-16, male sterilisation rates dipped from 1% to 0.3%.
To ensure increased adoption of contraceptives among men, family planning campaigns focused on men should be planned, couples should hold discussions, make informed choices. Discussions and campaigns should speak about myths about family planning. Young men need to be convinced that male contraception is safer and simpler than female sterilisation. Population explosion is a problem and it needs to be addressed, not only on the global but glocal level as well.