I don’t want my wife to be sterilized!

“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.

Thanks to those who have sent in comments 😀 We absolutely love to hear from you!

It’s my wife’s fault!

So Amina came back to see me as planned. If you are new to the blog, please read the previous articles here https://adaezeifezulike.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/contraception-to-ignore-it-or-tackle-it-that-is-the-question-2/ and also https://adaezeifezulike.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/youre-pregnant-congratulations-or-not/.

This time, I was pleased to see that she’d brought her husband with her. Studies show that if men are involved in making decisions about contraception, the women are more likely to continue with the method jointly chosen and are more tolerant of side effects. So ladies, take your husband along with you to the family planning clinic if you can.

After they both sat down and we finished with the pleasantries, the husband said: “I came so I can see this doctor who is suggesting adoption to my wife.” He was angry. “How could you even suggest such a thing?”

I gave Amina my best what-have-you-been-telling-your-husband look. I was taken aback.

“How would she carry the pregnancy? Everybody will see her pregnant and then what will we say to people when there is no baby in the end?”

‘I won’t let anyone know I am pregnant…’ Amina ventured timidly.

‘Indeed, when you start spitting all over the place, how won’t people know? And when the tummy starts showing, what would you say is inside there? Food?’

I stifled my laughter.

“We were just discussing possible options to abortion,” I explained. “I do the same with any woman who presents for an abortion; but of course the ultimate decision lies with you and we are here to help whatever your decision. I just try to make sure you’ve thought things through.’

I could see him visibly relax as I explained.

“Abortion is not like having your tooth taken out, you know.”

“Okay, I see,” he said, his voice quieter.

“All this wouldn’t have happened if she’d been more careful,” he continued gesturing at Amina.

“Me?!” Amina recoiled at the accusation. I could see tears forming.

“How do you mean?” I asked.

“’Doctor please tell her she needs to ensure she doesn’t keep getting pregnant. Even little girls of 16 years know how to not get pregnant.”

“What do you think you could do to help the situation?”

“Me?”’ He was thrown by my question. “But this is her responsibility. She is the one getting pregnant.”

“Have you ever considered getting sterilised?”

“What?! First you talked of adoption, now you are saying sterilisation! Surely you don’t understand our ways even though you are one of us. A man doesn’t get sterilised.”

“Okay, I look forward to discussing that at another time with you but, for now, let’s hear what you’ve decided to do about this pregnancy.”

“Abortion of course.”

I looked at Amina to get her consent. “Yes doctor, we will go for an abortion,” she said quietly.

“Okay.”

“So what do we do next?” She asked.

I shall be discussing what happens on the next blog so be sure to click the follow button so you don’t miss out.

What do you think about male sterilization?

Consider these statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2013 on contraceptive use. The percentages using male sterilisation for different countries are as below:

Canada 22%

UK         17%

Namibia 0.8%

South Africa 0.7%

Uganda  0.1%

Zambia 0.1%

It’s obvious that the concept of male sterilisation hasn’t taken root among black communities.

Should we be promoting male sterilisation? What do you think is the reason why black men do not go for sterilisation even when they are sure their families are complete?

Don’t forget to participate in the poll on contraception here https://adaezeifezulike.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/lets-know-what-you-think/. I value your input immensely. You are the reason for the Blog! Thank you for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section. Till next post, stay strong!

Dr Adaeze.