“No doctor, I really don’t want to go down the condom route. There is just no way I could rely on condoms again. So please, as he doesn’t want to be sterilised,  just tell me what I need to do to get sterilised. I’m the one who has gone through the abortions and the child bearing. I think I am the one who will have to provide a solution to this since he is not willing,” she ended, gesturing at Baako.

“Eh..I didn’t say I am not willing. I’m just….”

“It’s okay, don’t worry. You can keep your manhood,” said Amina.

“Female sterilisation is getting your tubes tied and that means that when an egg is released from your ovaries, it cannot meet up with a sperm that has traveled up the vagina. If the egg cannot meet the sperm, no pregnancy can result.”

“How do you tie the tubes then?” asked Baako. “With a belt or what? Sorry, just asking,” he laughed when Amina threw him a scathing look.

I noted how relaxed he was now the pressure was off him.

“There are two ways of doing it. We could make tiny cuts on your tummy and, through them, find your tubes with special cameras and then cut and tie them or use clips to occlude them. That way you will only have very tiny scars. They’re barely visible. The other way is by passing special flexible tubes up your womb from your vagina. A tiny spring is inserted into each fallopian tube which then occludes the tubes. Both methods are very effective in preventing pregnancy. I must add that these are permanent methods of contraception.”

“So what if we want to have more children?” Baako asked.

“More children!? What are you saying? I thought we had agreed to stop?”

“Eh…but you never know…we may change our minds…”

“Then this method is not for you,” I replied.

“Doctor – please carry on,” said Amina.

“As I always say: ultimately the decision is yours and we are just here to help. Hopefully you can both decide on a method that is mutually acceptable. Sterilisation does carry a small risk of failure. If that happens and a woman falls pregnant, then it’s likely to be an ectopic pregnancy. That’s a pregnancy in the tubes rather than in the womb.”

“You hear that!” exclaimed Baako.

“It’s a very small risk. I must add that there are many women who have had ectopic pregnancies who have never been sterilised. One last thing – sterilisation can be reversed but it’s not always successful.”

“Doctor, I’ve thought about it and that’s what I’d like to do. What do I have to do next?”

positive steps

“No!’ said Baako. “I don’t want you to get sterilised.”
“What!” Amina was annoyed.

“Yes doctor, what do you call a woman who is sterilised? A man?”

“What worries you about your wife going forward with this procedure?” I asked gently.

“It’s just so permanent eh! And also won’t it affect…”

“Affect what?” Amina asked.

“I don’t know… please let’s go back to condoms. Doctor, you were going to tell us about condoms. Just tell us about that. Forget all these permanent methods. I don’t want to hear about them.”

Amina sighed.

“Okay, then, let’s talk about condoms.”

Baako and Amina had already decided that their family was complete, which was why he wanted Amina to have an abortion. What do you think about Baako’s attitude? Why does he oppose his wife’s sterilisation?

WHO figures for female sterilisation are as below:
Uganda 2.4%
Togo 0.3%
Nigeria 0.2%
Angola 0.1%
Dominican Republic 47%
South Korean 24%

Just like male sterilisation, the concept of female sterilisation is yet to be established in Black communities.

Should we be promoting it??

Consider that the maternal mortality rate (i.e the number of women who die at childbirth) is 840 out of every 100,000 live births in Nigeria
and 790 in Zimbabwe compared to 12 in U.K.

The issue of unplanned pregnancies must be tackled.

As usual, your thoughts are welcomed. Feel free to comment below. If you found this useful, please share with your network by clicking the relevant button below.

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9 Responses

  1. I can understand him being reluctant to have his wife sterilized especially as it’s a permanent thing. Remember the case of the mother of 2 of the Sosoliso crash victims who, had those 2, was done with kids and had her tubes tied. When she lost them to the crash her biggest regret apart from loosing the kids was not being able to have more. But I agree with Kemi, Baako now has to take some of the responsibility. If they’ve both agreed they have the number of kids they want then he has to be as much in the know about when he “can” & when he “can’t” as Amina is. It has to be both their thing. Women are driven to extreme measures like sterilization bcos the men couldn’t be bothered & I think that’s soooo wrong. Feels like being used, to me. Let them be part of the effort jor & they will respect it more

  2. I believe the reason most men are wary of sterilization is that they think their wives’ sexual libido will diminish drastically or there may be some side effects to sterilization that may result in medical issues. A lot of these reasons are mostly to ignorance. We just need to be enlightened and educated on the pros of sterilization if a family is absolutely sure that their family is complete. For some, it could be for religious reasons. I have a friend who doesn’t believe in birth control of any form, shape or size, she says its against her religion. Not sure what religion she’s talking about. Meanwhile she complains about how she barely has time to herself cos she’s overwhelmed with being a wife and mother. Go figure….”IGNORANCE”

    1. Stef, religious reasons are definitely a big reason for some people not to use contraception. It’s important however that people don’t just assume that their religion is against contraception and therefore they feel unable to do anything about getting pregnant. I have spoken to some religious leaders about their views on contraception and many are definitely NOT against contraception. Families do need to make decisions that are right for themselves. If the alternative to not using contraception is abortion or having children one really doesn’t want, then that doesn’t seem right either!

  3. Well for me, women are at d receiving end always, it should be making a decision not settling for one. Anima want to be a good wife, mother, n woman but she is not happy taking dis step. What is this man ready to put into this decision. The woman is a soil that is always ready to grow d seed but d man needs to provide d seed. Make a decision that will bring smile on both Amina n her husband. Am not against her decision but there are other ways out. Make d man understand that he can’t eat his cake n still have it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kemi. You have raised an important point: that Amina appears to be ‘settling for a decision’ rather than making a decision. I guess many women may be in the same situation. If your man refuses to take the step, what would you advice the woman to do?

  4. I am black and have been sterilised. I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant anymore. Everything has remained the same for me and even better as I enjoy sex the more. I can’t be bothered about what anyone thinks about my decision as it is my life. I have the number of children I want and that is it for me. Recently a lady lost her life while trying to abort a fifth child. She couldn’t bear to have another. Women have to take the decision if their darling husbands have refused. I believe that more women and men will opt for this procedure as they become more enlightened and better still as they get the assurance that sex life remains intact and in cases like mine even better.

    1. Hi Engee, thanks for sharing your experience. I hope it’s reassuring for many out there to know that sex life remains intact and sweeter 🙂 even after sterilization. It will be interesting to know if this helps someone who was undecided to make up their mind.

  5. As far i’m concerned sterilization is better than having to abort another unwanted baby! Sterilization should be promoted and shouted from the rooftops in Africa. once you’re sure you are done, you shut the gate and get on with life…thats it!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jetmum. I guess the question is why are people afraid of ‘shutting the gate and getting on with life’ even when they know they have finished child bearing?

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