Nigerian men have indicated that they will not go for vasectomy, a medical procedure for family planning purposes in men, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Over the years, family planning had been targeted at women and their ability to decide if and when they wanted to get pregnant but now, men too could make such decisions.
The male folks can finally be part of the discussion on birth control via vasectomy but a lot of them believe it’s not a realistic alternative for a true Africa man.
Vasectomy is a short and simple medical procedure of cutting or sealing the ‘vas deferens’, the tube that carries a man’s sperm.
A cross section of Nigerians and medical experts interviewed in Abuja, the nation’s federal capital expressed different opinions on why vasectomy remained unpopular among men.
NAN gathered that to some men, vasectomy remains unpopular among Nigerians as it is against the cultural ethics while others were of the view that the procedure was a sure end to unplanned birth.
Mr Eijeh Emmanuel, a medical practitioner and chief executive officer of Exodus Medical Services, said, in spite of its safety and effectiveness, men remain reluctant to undergo vasectomy due to cultural ideals.
“Gross misconception and ignorance has discouraged a lot of men from undergoing the procedure especially men with a lot of kids while some are just plainly scared of going under the knife.
“Contrary to popular belief, vasectomy is not castration. Your testicles will not be chopped off. It does not affect your sex life. Your erection or orgasm does not change.
“In fact, getting a vasectomy creates an avenue for you to have sex as much as you want and won’t be concerned with unwanted pregnancy.
”It does not disfigure your identity as a man and the procedure is not painful as mostly imagined.
“Men also use cultural belief to shy away from the procedure as they take pride in their ability to produce more kids even when they can’t cater for them,” he said.
Emmanuel added that vasectomy is a method for men who do not desire to have any more children. The surgery prevents sperm from getting into the semen produced after ejaculation.
He said the procedure which takes between 15 to 20 minutes with a recovery time of 3 to 4 days is not life threatening.
Mrs Zainab Mukhtar, a Communications and Marketing Officer with Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, said the procedure ensures that men can take charge of their productive right.
“It is high time we become aware of the various options that exist apart from the usage of condom. A man should be able to decide when he wants a kid.
“It ensures that men can enjoy sexual relations without taking responsibility for raising kids”.
Mrs Mukhtar said that lack of awareness and education on the subject matter in Africa was largely the reason behind the poor acceptance of vasectomy.
“Many do not trust the process; they hold the belief that the procedure is too western for them as Africans.
“They go ahead to paint it as dangerous even without proper information. Vasectomy is 99% effective and safe.
“Family planning is not complete if the man refuses to participate. Vasectomy is not the end of life but a new age of responsibility.
“This is why PPFN keeps its doors open to attend to any reservations concerning family planning options,” she said.
She added that to have the procedure is not expensive especially if it’s a public facility because it is not a difficult procedure.
Meanwhile, Mr Ojo Oni, a civil servant and a father of 6, said vasectomy was a risk not worth taking for a man living in Nigeria.
“Nothing will make me have vasectomy because of the uncertainty stored in life especially for men living in Nigeria.
“There are stories of families losing children in accidents, the only solution is to give birth to more kids and if he had vasectomy all hope would have been lost.
“Vasectomy is not popular in Nigeria because it does not fit with our culture and beliefs. It’s more like a western option,” he said.
Mr Kalu Orji, a business man, said the procedure was unnatural as no man should willingly put himself under such situation for any reason.
“Having children is God’s blessing to mankind, why would anyone want to alter such through surgery.
“If you have enough children, then you can use other alternatives like condom or ejaculating outside the vagina of your partner. But this (vasectomy) tampers with the pride of being a man.
Mr Kelechi Eze, however, said he did not see anything wrong for a man with a complete family undergoing vasectomy.
He said that having vasectomy was a way to ease the pain most women face due to reactions to birth control pills.
“Most men do not take notice of the bleeding, skin reactions, pain and so many more that women face due to the long usage of birth control pills.
“They assume that it’s a symptom of aging. Many women also go through risky pregnancies that put their lives in danger even after the 5th child.
“It will be selfish of any man who refuses to accept this solution because he feels women alone should bear the burden. Through vasectomy men can take responsibility for child birth.
Mr Ezekiel Julius, an engineer, said the concern most men had about vasectomy grew from fear and ignorance.
“Africans get scared at the mention of surgery and believe they would be walking out with crutches. This explains the nonchalance of men to the procedure.
“My brother had the procedure after having a set of twins twice. He had vasectomy on a Friday and resumed work on Monday.
“When we went for consultation with the doctor, we were told that vasectomy can be reversed, in some cases but that it was quite difficult to do. I believe there is nothing wrong with the procedure,” he said.