Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
Nayantara N | The News Minute | November 13, 2014 | 07:16 pm IST The sterilisation camp at Bilaspur district in Chattisgarh left 14 women dead. The doctor performed 80 surgeries in just five hours using infected tools leading to the death of the women.  This incident has brought to fore a shocking fact – 99% of the sterilisation surgeries are performed on women. Men rarely undergo sterilisation although the procedure is easier, non-invasive and practically no complication. With the facts established, why do men shy away from vasectomy?  A report in Medical News Today describes vasectomy (male sterilization) as 'a form of contraception that involves surgically cutting or blocking the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis.' Explaining further, it adds, "When men undergo a vasectomy their sperm can no longer reach the semen, as a result any semen that is ejaculated during sex does not contain sperm - which is needed to fertilize a woman's egg." However, misconception regarding the procedure seems to be widespread among men, which could explain why only 1% of India’s population undergo vasectomy.  1. Male chauvinism: Men often feel why should ‘I’ undergo the procedure. The male ego takes dominance over logic and practicality and they'd prefer the woman got the surgery instead.  2. I(a)m-potent: Potency defines sterility which men routinely uses to express their manliness. ‘Mein mard hoon!’ (I am a man). Since vasectomy includes blocking or removal of the tubes that transport sperm to the penis, some could consider that as a significant part of their manliness being chopped off. With ‘manhood’ being cut-off, one will lose the ability to get an erection or ejaculate.  3. The fear complex: It’s perhaps the darkest fear of every man – will I be able to perform? Will my partner be disappointed? There could also be the fear of undergoing the knife, especially in their very private and perhaps most important body part.  4. Virility: Vasectomy leads to only absence or low count of sperms in the seminal fluid. But men begin to think that presence of sperms is the only cause of sexual drive and a vasectomy could affect their sexual urges, or their sex life altogether, poorly.  5. Causes physical weakness: Most men believe that penis and testis are the most sensitive region in one’s body. Therefore, any meddling with the parts damages health. It causes physical weakness and health problems. 6. If a woman decides to get pregnant post her husband undergoing vasectomy, a man does not want to be the reason why she cannot conceive. 7. Delusion: Loss of one drop of semen is equivalent to losing 8-15 drops of blood, is what some believe. With sperms no longer existing, it’s a huge blood loss. Read: All that you wanted to know about the potency test and were afraid to ask The News Minute spoke to two doctors – a psychiatrist and a sexologist to gain perspective on the men’s psyche. Now the doctors debunk these myths and explain the cause for such a low rate of vasectomy. Dr. P.S Murthy, psychiatrist in Bangalore clarifies, “The above problems are all in the head. After surgery, they come for counselling and complain of lack of focus, concentration and weakness. Educated people often seek information online and stumble upon websites that misguide you.” But the blame does not rest only on these men; doctors are also responsible for the confusion. “Doctors must explain the procedure in detail and must allay fears of people. However, in these camps, there is no time for interaction. Besides, most doctors are uncomfortable discussing genitalia and sexuality. There is no course on sexual medicine in college curriculum which does not ease matters,” explains Dr. Narayana Reddy, sexologist based in Chennai. Both the doctors shed light on the facts of this issue. In vasectomy the vas deference is cut or tied to stop the sperms from entering the seminal canal thus preventing fertilisation. The sperm accounts for only one percent of the seminal fluid (ejaculation), the rest is from other glands. Therefore, the sexual drive remains intact; it does not affect a man physically or physiologically. Sperms are a requirement for fertilisation, not a pre-cursor for engaging in sex.  Tubectomy is a procedure which involves surgically sealing or clamping the fallopian tubes of the woman, thus preventing the eggs from travelling to the uterus, the place where fertilisation occurs.  Another alternative to family planning is vasectomy – a sterilisation procedure for the man. Of the two, doctors say, vasectomy is easier to perform and will have less complications. Yet, in India, vasectomy procedures are barely performed and even doctors fail to convince couples that it is advisable for the men to go under the knife than women. Watch this video by Nucleus Medical Media to understand how vasectomy works. 
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