Where are the men? Greater role for them in preventing unplanned pregnancies

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Contraception isn’t only for women. Men can play a much greater role in the prevention of unplanned pregnancies and the promotion of responsible parenthood.

So says Dr. Fred Nunes, a Board Representative of the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA).

According to a release from the organisation, studies in the Caribbean show that about 70 to 80% of women did not plan their last or current pregnancy.

Dr. Fred Nunes, a Board Representative of the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation

Because of this, there has been a huge focus on contraceptives to prevent unplanned pregnancies. That includes short-term methods like pills and condoms and longer-lasting options such as injectables, intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs), patches, and implants.

Dr. Nunes believes that the burden of contraception has largely rested on the shoulders of women and girls. And he believes that shouldn’t be the case.

“Pregnancy is a joint effort, yet we leave everything on the woman,” Dr. Nunes told the News Room during an interview on Monday.

That aside, he also noted that a substantial number of unplanned pregnancies in the Caribbean occur either through abuse or coercive sex. All the more reason, he believes, men can and should be involved in contraception efforts.

But there are challenges to getting more men involved. The biggest challenge globally? The patriarchy, according to the CFPA representative.

“We have a culture which historically puts down women and elevates men,” Dr. Nunes said, explaining that this system, whereby men yield greater power, is oppressive for women.

Involving men in contraception is not easy given long standing norms and perceptions of manhood, Dr. Nunes said further. Getting a vasectomy, for example, isn’t something that many men may readily opt for.

“When I had my vasectomy, I had it at lunchtime and I went back to work. It took more time to fill out the paperwork than to do the paperwork,” he said.

A vasectomy blocks sperm from leaving a man’s body and impregnating a woman. Simply, it is a form of male birth control and Dr. Nunes noted that it is cheaper and safer than tubal ligation, or ‘tying a woman’s tubes.’

Still, he highlighted that doing a vasectomy is not nearly as common as tubal ligation, the surgical procedure of preventing pregnancies in women. Tubal ligation is more commonly referred to as ‘tying a woman’s tubes.’

There are also challenges with men supporting women’s choices.

CFPA’s Chief Executive Officer Reverend Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth

The CFPA’s Chief Executive Officer Reverend Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth explained that some men police the bodies of women. She also noted that there is a fairly common belief that women seek contraceptives because they intend on being promiscuous.

“Women say to us that even now, they have to put their (contraceptive) pills in vitamin bottles,” she lamented.

She believes women shouldn’t be denied access to contraceptives and responsible parenthood should be practised across genders.

If more men are educated, not just on vasectomies, but in other ways they can support women and help promote planned parents, both Dr. Nunes and Reverend Sheerattan-Bisnauth believe that there can be fewer unplanned pregnancies and women can be better supported.

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2 Comments
  1. Matthew says

    Bwahahahaahahahahaha…….no, just no……

    Man + alcohol + sweet ting = unplanned pregnancy.

    because they are in a hurry and not thinking of the consequences.

  2. habeeb says

    The men are like drivers operating, delivering sand, stone etc.. They just drop their load and off they go.

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