Family planning: Vasectomy at what age?

JUMA Selemani (32), now runs a campaign on family planning in Mtwara Region.


MR Juma Selemani has made a tough decision. At the age of 32 years, he has decided to undergo vasectomy, the male birth control method as a means of sterilisation.

Undergoing vasectomy may not be a big deal but what surprised many people in his village of Nemala in Mtwara region is how he made such decision at the prime age of a youth.

“ I already have six children. This is the number I wanted to have in my whole life. Of course my financial position also forced me to take the decision. My children deserve the best social needs though I’m only a small farmer.” Juma says he has never regretted, saying it was an informed decision, after he received education and counseling on Family Planning.

Mr Selemani got married four times and has two children with the first wife. He has divorced the all the wives and he is taking care of the children singlehandedly. He currently lives with the fifth wife who has not yet bore him but she will never give him a child after undergoing vasectomy.

According to Juma, the woman is not aware of the latest development, but since she joined the family with another child, that would be enough. No more children. What if the current wife decides to take another man and becomes pregnant?

Juma says, that would be okay with him, he would accept the child as his. “I love my wife so much. I will some day tell her about vasectomy,” he said, adding: “I know there are men who father other men’s children. If this happens, It might also be true that I’m not the real father of all or some of the children I have. The same way I will take care of my wife’s child, if any comes my way.”

What if he lost all children in any calamity? Mr Selemani responded that God’s will cannot be challenged. There are many people who never did go for vasectomy yet have no children. Soon after the surgery, according to him, FP service providers involved him in FP public awareness campaigns for mobilization purposes, in public rallies.

People mocked him as they associated vasectomy with erectile dysfunctions. It was hard time for him as some women were sent purposely to prove that he had a problem. He confirmed that vasectomy never affected him in any way rather than small pains he experienced in the first week after the surgery.

Reached for comments on aftermath of vasectomy, Nachingwea District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr Sammuel Laizer insisted that there is no relationship between vasectomy and dysfunctions.

He explained that erection is mostly engineered by hormones transferred through nerves and blood vessels contained in Spermatic Cord and connected to the brain. Spermatic cord is also (apart from nerves and blood vessels) formed by tissues and small tubes, among others.

It (spermatic Cord) operates from the deep inguinal ring down to each testicle. Vas deferens is among the tubes in the Spermatic Cord. It is the only one and is separated (cut and tie) during vasectomy surgery.

Its main function (before separation) is transferring sperms from the testicles where they are manufactured out of the body. Before getting out, transferred sperms are combined with fluid/semen from ‘prostate gland’ and ‘seminal vesicle’ ready to fertilise the woman’s egg.

Prostate Gland and Seminal Vesicle are placed above the separated vas deferens point. Fluids in Prostate Gland and Seminal Vesicle continue to be generated and that is what causes normal ejaculation, but the man is unable to impregnate the woman because fluids are coming out without sperms in it.

Despite vasectomy, the man should stop having sex for two weeks. This is to finish sperms already transferred above vas deferens cut point, which might cause pregnancy. After vasectomy, sperms will continue to be manufactured as usual but absorbed by the body and function as any kind of protein.

Dr Laizer insisted that the man would experience erectile dysfunction if other things (apart from vas deferens) in the spermatic cord are disturbed during vasectomy procedures.

Commenting whether the man can experience infertility even if no vasectomy surgery has done, the DMO responded: “Yes. And anecdotal findings show that there are more infertility in men than women though the burden has been directed to female.”

Sperm count, morphology and means of transportation are few things considered to determine the man’s capability to impregnate the women, according to the DMO. Minimum sperm count should be 20m, equal to two volume.

Low sperm count, can make the baby but only through the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or test tubes. All about morphology is to detect any kind of sperm deformity wherein some appeared to be double-headed (with two heads) or they lack tails, among others; and sometimes moving in wrong direction instead of directly passing through vas deferens to ‘urethra’, then out of the body.

“Those are few things which can trigger male infertility when one is imperfect. But in very rare cases men have been accepting the truth. It is due to lack of education to make the public aware that men are also barren but some problems are resolvable,” he said.

Relying on his experience in the field, Dr Laizer confirmed that most husbands have been rejecting fertility tests after their wives found perfect. Family

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