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OVER the years, a considerable number of women have undergone sterilisation to stop having more children.

Female sterilisation includes two main procedures: the tubal ligation, where clips are placed on the fallopian tubes and the tubal occlusion, where a tiny, flexible device is placed into each tube.

And men are having their own tubes tied up, which is called vasectomy.

The Medical Dictionary defines this as a surgical procedure performed on males: the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles are cut, tied or cauterised (burned or seared).

These forms of permanent female and male contraception are now becoming a choice for most couples.

Soweto-based gynaecologist Dr George Koboka said most women who consider sterilisation are based in urban areas.

“They have more information and options, compared to their rural counterparts.

“Some of the most common reasons why women opt for sterilisation include the number of kids they already have, plus medical conditions like diabetes and high-blood pressure, among other reasons,” he said.

For Mampho Makitla (*not her real name) from Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, she said she went for sterilisation because she’s a single mum of five children.

She said: “I tried keeping men by having their babies. Now, I’m left with five kids and raising them alone. And it’s not easy.

“Whoever comes to me right now should understand that building a future with me doesn’t involve having kids.” 

She said it’s due to a lack of knowledge that she had the procedure in her 40s.

Otherwise, she said she could have stopped at baby number three.

For Margaret Bush (*not her real name) from Florida, in Gauteng, she said she was hurt when she found out her husband had a vasectomy without her permission.

“My hubby grew up in a coastal town and he had such fun growing up. So, for him having one child is enough.”

Said Margaret: “We’ve spoken about me going for sterilisation many times, but I never seem to make time to go. He went ahead and told me after the procedure was done he’d had a vasectomy.”

They only have one child and although at times she thinks their child is lonely, she looks at the good quality of life they afford her – and understands where her husband was coming from.

Dr Koboka said he hasn’t encountered a vasectomy patient. This he attributes to the fact that men can be secretive.

And because they want to avoid the societal shame that comes with people knowing they might be sterile.

“With female sterilisation a majority of women are white. When she has a problem with her uterus, a white woman is more likely to have it removed to prevent cancer and/or other illnesses, but most black women don’t do this.

“Culturally, black women still believe they have to die with all their body organs still intact,” he said.

Dr Koboka urges people to get educated in matters of reproductive health.

He also encourages health practitioners to spread awareness about sterilisation as an effective and permanent family planning method.

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