Engender Health- Contraceptive Sterilization: Introduction

Publication date: 2002

Improving WomenWW ’s Health WorldwideWW Contraceptive Sterilization: GlobalIssues and Trends © 2002 EngenderHealth 440 Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10001 U.S.A. Telephone: 212-561-8000 Fax: 212-561-8067 e-mail: info@engenderhealth.org www.engenderhealth.org This publication may be reproduced and excerpts from it may be quoted without permission, provided the material is distributed free of charge and the publisher is acknowledged. This publication was made possible, in part, through support provided by the Office of Population, U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), under the terms of cooperative agreement HRN-A-00-98-00042-00. The opinions expressed herein are those of the publisher and do not necessarily reflect the views of AID. Design and typesetting: ConsolidatedGraphics Cover design: Virginia Taddoni Cover photo credits: Amita Prasher, United Nations, Richard Lord, Ian Steele, John Isaac, Andrew Levack, A. Fisher Printing: Automated Graphic Systems, Inc. ISBN 1-885063-31-8 Printed in the United States of America. Printed on recycled paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data EngenderHealth (Firm) Contraceptive sterilization: global issues and trends / by EngenderHealth p. ; cm. Expand version of: Voluntary sterilization / John A. Ross, Sawon Hong, Douglas H. Huber. c1985. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-885063-31-8 (alk. paper) 1. Family planning—Statistics. 2. Sterilization (Birth control)—Statistics. 3. Contraception—Statistics. I. Ross, John A., 1934-. Voluntary sterilization. II. Title. [DNLM: 1. Family Planning—trends. 2. Family Planning—statistics & numerical data. 3. Sterilization—statistics & numerical data. 4. Sterilization, Sexual—trends. HQ 767.7 E57c 2002] RG136 .E544 2002 304.6’66—dc21 2002021102 © 2002 EngenderHealth iii Preface / ix Executive Summary / xi Chapter 1: Delivering Quality Sterilization Services in the Post-Cairo Era / 1 Provision of Quality Sterilization Services / 2 Supply Factors / 2 Demand Factors / 7 Challenges: Continuity of Care for Sterilization Clients / 12 References / 14 Chapter 2: Sterilization Incidence and Prevalence / 17 Global Status of Sterilization / 18 Incidence / 18 Prevalence / 24 Current Numbers of Users / 32 Sterilization’s Share of Contraceptive Prevalence / 35 References / 35 Supplementary Tables / 47 Chapter 3: Characteristics of Female Sterilization Users / 65 Age and Number of Children at Sterilization / 67 Educational Attainment / 72 Urban-Rural Residence Patterns / 73 Use of Modern Contraceptives Prior to Sterilization / 74 Sterilization Timing: Postpartum Versus Interval / 75 References / 76 Supplementary Tables and Figures / 79 Chapter 4: Law and Policy / 87 Current Status of Laws on Sterilization / 88 Conditions and Limitations / 91 Sterilization Laws in the Developed World / 94 Contents © 2002 EngenderHealth iv CONTRACEPTIVE STERILIZATION: GLOBAL ISSUES AND TRENDS Sterilization Laws in the Developing World / 95 Recent Changes in Sterilization Laws / 96 International Law and Policy Consensus / 96 References / 98 Supplementary Table / 100 Chapter 5: Factors Influencing Sterilization Use and Outcomes / 107 Factors Influencing Sterilization Use / 108 Outcomes Related to Sterilization / 124 Addressing Gaps in Sterilization Research / 127 Additional Needs in Sterilization Research / 130 References / 131 Chapter 6: Female Sterilization / 139 Requirements for a Safe Procedure: An Overview / 139 Female Sterilization Procedures / 141 Safe Anesthesia Regimens / 146 Postoperative Care and Instructions / 147 Effectiveness / 147 Complications / 149 Long-Term Effects / 150 Regret and Sterilization Reversal / 153 Innovations / 155 References / 157 Chapter 7: Male Sterilization / 161 Requirements for a Safe Procedure: An Overview / 163 Approaches / 163 Occlusion Techniques / 164 Effectiveness / 165 Complications / 168 Long-Term Effects / 169 Vasectomy Regret and Reversal / 171 Innovations / 172 References / 173 © 2002 EngenderHealth CONTENTS v Chapter 8: Future Use of Sterilization / 179 Unmet Need for Contraception / 180 Projections of Future Sterilization Prevalence / 181 Characteristics of Potential Sterilization Users / 186 References / 191 Supplementary Tables / 193 Index / 201 Listing of Tables and Figures Tables Table 1.1. Supply and demand factors affecting the delivery of quality services / 3 Table 2.1. Average five-year incidence of female and male sterilization per 100 women of reproductive age (15–49) who were ever in union, by country, year, and source of data / 20 Table 2.2. Twenty countries with the highest total sterilization prevalence (female and male) among women who are married or in union, by country and year of survey / 25 Table 2.3. Twenty countries with the highest prevalence of female sterilization among women who are married or in union, by country and year of survey / 30 Table 2.4. Twenty countries with the highest prevalence of male sterilization among women who are married or in union, by country and year of survey / 31 Table 2.5. Twenty countries with the highest total prevalence of sterilization and 20 countries with the highest total number of sterilization users, by country and year of survey / 34 Table 2.6. Relationship between levels of contraceptive prevalence and sterilization prevalence, and country examples / 35 Table 3.1. Date and source of most recent national survey in selected countries, by region / 66 Table 4.1. Legal status of sterilization, selected countries, 2001 / 89 Table 4.2. Countries with changes in sterilization laws, by type of change, 1984–2001 / 97 Table 5.1. Key findings on relationship between sterilization use, socioeconomic status, and education, by study country, study population, results, and source / 109 Table 5.2. Key findings on relationship between sterilization use and selected life-cycle variables, by study country, study population, results, and source / 112 Table 5.3. Key findings on relationship between sterilization use and race and ethnicity, by study country, study population, results, and source / 115 Table 5.4. Key findings on relationship between sterilization use and contraceptive knowledge and previous contraceptive experience, by study country, study population, results, and source / 117 © 2002 EngenderHealth vi CONTRACEPTIVE STERILIZATION: GLOBAL ISSUES AND TRENDS Table 5.5. Commonly cited presterilization and poststerilization risk factors for regret, by country / 128 Table 6.1. Approaches to the fallopian tubes, surgical procedures, timing of procedure, and related occlusion techniques / 141 Table 6.2. Among women undergoing female sterilization, 10-year cumulative probability of pregnancy per 1,000 procedures (and 95% confidence intervals), by age at sterilization, according to method of occlusion / 148 Table 6.3. Number of women who had undergone tubal sterilization, number who experienced an ectopic pregnancy within 10 years postpartum, and cumulative probability of an ectopic pregnancy per 1,000 sterilization procedures, by tubal occlusion method, United States / 151 Table 7.1. Percentage of vasectomies in which infection or hematoma or bleeding occurred, by type of vasectomy and study / 165 Table 8.1. Percentage distribution of fecund women aged 15–49 currently in union and wanting no more children, by selected characteristics, according to potential sterilization use and country / 187 Figures Figure 2.1. Five-year average incidence of female sterilization per 1,000 women of reproductive age who were ever in union, selected Latin American countries, 1985–1998 / 22 Figure 2.2. Five-year average incidence of female sterilization per 1,000 women of reproductive age who were ever in union, selected Asian countries, 1985–1998 / 23 Figure 2.3. Five-year average incidence of female sterilization per 1,000 women of reproductive age who were ever in union, selected North African and Sub-Saharan African countries, 1985–1999 / 23 Figure 2.4. Five-year average incidence of male sterilization per 1,000 women of reproductive age who were ever in union, selected countries and years / 24 Figure 2.5. Total prevalence of sterilization among women of reproductive age who were ever in union, selected countries, 1978–1999 / 26 Figure 2.6. Prevalence of female sterilization and male sterilization, selected countries, 1986–1996 / 33 Figure 2.7. Percentage distribution of sterilization users, by region / 34 Figure 3.1. Median age at sterilization among female sterilization users, by country / 67 Figure 3.2. Percentage of women sterilized by selected exact ages, by various cohorts, El Salvador, 1985, 1993, and 1998 / 70 Figure 3.3. Percentage of women using female sterilization, by family size, according to region / 71 Figure 3.4. Percentage distribution of women using female sterilization, by level of education, according to country / 72 Figure 3.5. Percentage distribution of women using female sterilization, by urban- rural residence, according to country / 73 © 2002 EngenderHealth CONTENTS vii Figure 3.6. Percentage distribution of women using female sterilization, by use of modern methods prior to sterilization, according to country / 74 Figure 3.7. Percentage distribution of women using female sterilization, by timing of sterilization, according to country / 75 Figure 4.1. Number of countries where sterilization is legal, where its status is unclear, where availability is restricted, or where there is no information, 1985 and 2001, 137 countries / 88 Figure 4.2. Among 28 countries that in 1985 had policies limiting sterilization to medical or health reasons, number where legal status changed from 1985 to 2001 / 91 Figure 4.3. Number of countries where sterilization is legal for contraceptive purposes, where it is permitted only for medical reasons, or where its status is unclear, by region, 2001, 133 countries / 92 Figure 4.4. Among countries where contraceptive sterilization was legal, number with various restrictions, 1985 (n�78) and 2001 (n�74) / 93 Figure 6.1. Selected methods for occluding the fallopian tubes / 145 Figure 7.1. Key points of male anatomy, before vasectomy and after vasectomy / 162 Figure 7.2. In no-scalpel vasectomy, the clinician delivers the vas for ligation by piercing the skin of the scrotum with the medial blade of the dissecting forceps / 164 Figure 7.3. With fascial interposition, the fascial sheath (the thin layer of tissue that surrounds the vas) is sutured over one end of the cut vas / 166 Figure 8.1. Projected total percentage of couples using sterilization, by year, according to region / 182 Supplementary Tables and Figures Supplement 2.1. Number (in millions) of women of reproductive age currently in union who are using sterilization, by type of sterilization, according to region / 47 Supplement 2.2. Percentage and number of women of reproductive age currently in union who are using sterilization, by type of sterilization, according to region and country / 47 Supplement 2.3. Approximate annual incidence of female sterilization per 100 women of reproductive age who were ever in union, by number of years prior to survey / 52 Supplement 2.4. Approximate annual incidence of male sterilization among partners of women of reproductive age who were ever in union, per 100 couples ever in union, by number of years prior to survey / 54 Supplement 2.5. Percentage of women of reproductive age currently in union who are using contraception, percentage who are using sterilization, by type, and share of sterilization as percentage of overall prevalence / 55 Supplement 3.1. Selected characteristics of women using contraceptive sterilization, by country, year, and source of data / 79 © 2002 EngenderHealth viii CONTRACEPTIVE STERILIZATION: GLOBAL ISSUES AND TRENDS Supplement 3.2. Percentage sterilized by exact age, among various cohorts, selected countries / 82 Supplement 4.1. Current legal status of sterilization, any consent requirements, and source of information on status, by country / 100 Supplement 8.1. Continuum of risk of unintended pregnancy, by level of risk, according to individuals’ characteristics and needs associated with each level of risk / 193 Supplement 8.2. Projected percentage and number of women using sterilization in selected developing countries, by region, according to year / 194 Supplement 8.3. Projected percentage and number of men using vasectomy in selected developing countries, by region, according to year / 197 © 2002 EngenderHealth ix Preface The publication in 1985 of Voluntary Sterilization: An International Fact Book, by John Ross, Sawon Hong, and Douglas Huber, was a landmark event: Never before had such a broad range of important information on the worldwide practice of contraceptive ster- ilization been gathered in one source. That volume was for many years an irreplaceable resource for researchers, clinicians, and public health figures when they needed essen- tial facts about sterilization. As time passed, however, the world described in the fact book changed. Surveys collected new data about women’s and men’s contraceptive behavior. The spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections affected both contraceptive practices and service priorities. And the Cairo Programme of Action brought about new perspectives on the provision of reproductive health services. All of these changes led us, a few years ago, to decide that a new version of the fact book was needed. We knew before we even began that a great deal of hard work was ahead; this volume is the product of that effort. A large number of individuals contributed to the writing of this book; all were with EngenderHealth when the book was written, unless otherwise noted. Evelyn Landry oversaw the development of the entire book, with the invaluable assistance of Ines Es- candon throughout the project. Evelyn Landry wrote Chapter 1, with the assistance of Karen Beattie and Georgeanne Kumar. Chapter 2 was written by Carol Camlin and Ines Escandon. Lyn Nguyen Henderson (consultant) and Ines Escandon wrote Chapter 3, and Reed Boland (Harvard School of Public Health) wrote Chapter 4. Chapter 5 was written by Ines Escandon and Shailaja Maru (consultant), and Jean Ahlborg, Carmela Cordero, Vanessa Cullins, Martha Jacob, and Kelly O’Hanley collaborated on the writing of Chapter 6. Mark Barone wrote Chapter 7; Carol Camlin, Lyn Nguyen Henderson, and Evelyn Landry together wrote Chapter 8. The entire authorship group is grateful to the following EngenderHealth staff who served as internal reviewers: Julie Becker, Janet Bradley, Abu Jamil Faisel, Pamela Harper, Terry Jezowski, Job Masakahue Obwaka, John Pile, Rachael Pine, Hannah Searing, Ashoke Shrestha, Harriet Stanley, and Christina Wypijewska. They also thank Jane Bertrand (Johns Hopkins University), Francine Coeyteaux (independent consul- tant), Joseph Dwyer (Management Sciences for Health), Lindsay Edouard (United Na- tions Population Fund), Leo Morris (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]), Herbert Peterson (CDC/World Health Organization), John Ross (The Futures Group International), James Shelton (U.S. Agency for International Development/ Washington), and Martin Vaessen (Macro International—Demographic and Health Surveys), who served as external reviewers. Other staff members at EngenderHealth and consultants who contributed to the de- velopment of this book are Michael Klitsch (editing), Karen Landovitz (editing), Lori Leonhardt (literature citation searches), Sharone Beatty (literature citation searches), Elizabeth Oliveras (consultant, editing and reviewing), Noel Raley (consultant, fact checking), Harriet Schick (literature searching), Bernice Stevens (literature searching), Marie Rose Charles (word processing), Anna Kurica (production supervision), Virginia Taddoni (cover design), Margaret Scanlon (editorial assistance), Stephanie Greig (con- sultant, Chapter 7 artwork), David Rosenzweig (consultant, Chapter 7 artwork), Laura Pardi Duprey (consultant, Chapter 6 and 7 artwork), and Katherine Cole (consultant, indexing). This book would not have been possible without the special analyses conducted for us by such experts as Trevor Croft, Bridget James, and Ladys Ortiz, of the Demographic © 2002 EngenderHealth x CONTRACEPTIVE STERILIZATION: GLOBAL ISSUES AND TRENDS and Health Survey project staff; Jennifer Ballentine, Charles H. Chen, Jay Friedman, Howard Goldberg, Mary Goodwin, Leo Morris, and Florina Serbanescu, of CDC; and Anjani Chandra, of the National Center for Health Statistics. Others who made substan- tial contributions were Elizabeth Leitman and Hanta Rafalimanana, with the United Na- tions Population Division, and Aimee Afable, who was with CDC when the book was being prepared. Evelyn Landry, for the writing team © 2002 EngenderHealth Executive Summary xi Why a Book on Contraceptive Sterilization? Contraceptive sterilization is one of the oldest modern methods of fertility control, dat- ing to the 19th century. Yet, as we advance into the 21st century, contraceptive steril- ization (hereafter referred to as sterilization) continues to warrant considerable attention and study by those involved in the field of family planning and reproductive health care. Why? The answer is simple: Despite the development and introduction of many new contraceptive methods over the last 15 years, sterilization is the most widely used method in the world, in developing and developed countries alike. Couples and individuals around the world choose sterilization because they want to limit or end childbearing, rather than space future births. For some women, reversible methods are unavailable or inconvenient; for others, contraceptive use may begin only after they have achieved or surpassed their desired fertility. For many, then, sterilization is their first method. The method requires no action on the part of the user beyond elec- tion of the initial surgical procedure. It produces a minimum of side effects, while gen- erally offering a lifetime of contraceptive protection. Moreover, female sterilization re- quires no ongoing cooperation by the sexual partner or spouse, thereby representing a contraceptive option for women who may be powerless to ensure such cooperation. Thus, quality sterilization services will always be a crucial component of any compre- hensive family planning service. As we move into the 21st century, however, two key challenges have emerged for those working to ensure access to quality family planning services. First, over the past 10 years it has become clear that family planning does not stand in a vacuum. Near the close of the 20th century, the international community reached consensus on a broader approach for supporting sustainable development, health, and equity, one that was fully articulated in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994. The Programme of Action reflected a shift from a focus on population stabilization to a focus on the rights and needs of people, es- pecially women. Realization of this broader approach requires that family planning be fully integrated with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. However, adaptation to this new paradigm requires resources, skills, and a policy mandate, all of which remain insufficient in many national contexts. The result is that the paradigm shift called for in Cairo has yet to be fully achieved. The second challenge is that the world confronts a public health threat like none be- fore, with AIDS having already devastated Africa and now on the threshold of wreak- ing similar havoc in China, India, Russia, and many other countries. Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) long neglected in service-delivery settings now appear to increase the likelihood of HIV transmission. Yet sterilization, like all other modern methods of contraception other than the condom, affords users no protection from HIV or other STIs. Thus, programs must intensify efforts to promote barrier methods because of the dual protection they afford and must determine how best to meet the noncontra- ceptive reproductive health needs of sterilization users. Regardless of how these challenges are met, safe and effective means of limiting family size will always be needed. For couples who do not want more children, steril- ization will continue to be a vital and relevant option. Furthermore, the contraceptive de- cision making and the social realities that underlie the fact of sterilization’s high preva- lence are likely to remain largely unaltered for years to come. Thus, it is imperative that we continue to closely study developments in sterilization technology, policy, service delivery, and usage. This is the knowledge base upon which the consensus for change is © 2002 EngenderHealth xii CONTRACEPTIVE STERILIZATION: GLOBAL ISSUES AND TRENDS built and upon which assurances of access, safety, and protection of individual rights in existing services lie. Voluntary Sterilization: A Snapshot of Developments In 1985, EngenderHealth (then the Association for Voluntary Sterilization) published Voluntary Sterilization: An International Fact Book, written by John Ross, Sawon Hong, and Douglas Huber. That was the first source book on sterilization ever to have been published, bringing together the results of clinical studies and social science re- search to provide a comprehensive overview of the practice of contraceptive steriliza- tion worldwide. This book, the successor to the 1985 volume, is intended to serve as an album depicting the state of contraceptive sterilization as the 21st century began. The following are some of the highlights from this effort. Delivering quality services Among the many factors that affect the quality with which contraceptive sterilization services are delivered, three require special attention: actual service-delivery modalities, fees and compensation programs, and the cost of service provision. For instance, while sterilization services are provided in an inherently medical context, men’s and women’s access can be broadened if services are offered during the postpartum period, through mobile outreach, or in male-only clinics (for vasectomy). Likewise, while fees and com- pensation for providers have led to concern over the potential for coercing clients into accepting sterilization, there is little evidence that such approaches have promoted re- liance on this method (see Chapter 1). The provision of quality sterilization services hinges on the client’s ability to make a well-informed, voluntary decision (informed choice), his or her authorization to pro- ceed with the surgical procedure (informed consent), and the client’s participation in true two-way communication with a health care worker about the risks and benefits of the procedure (counseling). In helping a client make an informed decision, providers need to assess the client’s needs, offer appropriate method options, fill in knowledge gaps, help the client make his or her own choice, and encourage utilization of other ap- propriate reproductive health services. The spread of HIV and other STIs across the globe since 1985 has important impli- cations for women and men considering or already using sterilization. Like most con- traceptive methods, sterilization fails to offer any protection against STIs, including HIV. Thus, it is imperative for family planning providers to ensure that men and women seeking to use sterilization understand safer-sex practices and how to protect themselves and their partners from these diseases (see Chapter 1). Incidence and prevalence Reliance on both male and female sterilization has grown substantially since 1980, when 99 million couples were estimated to be using sterilization; by 1995, this number had climbed to about 223 million couples—180 million women using female sterilization and 43 million men using vasectomy. The number of female sterilization users in 1995 was 42 million higher than 1990 estimates; in contrast, in 1995, the number of vasec- tomy users was only 1 million more than 1991 levels (see Chapter 2). Use of female sterilization services seems to have increased in regions where it had been low, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, in nations such as Botswana, Cape Verde, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland, sterilization prevalence rates are now 5% or higher. The introduction of minilaparotomy services into family planning programs in Sub-Saharan Africa may account for some of this in- crease in use. © 2002 EngenderHealth EXECUTIVE SUMMARY xiii Who uses female sterilization? Since only individuals and couples who want no more children elect to be sterilized, it is not surprising that sterilization is more common among older women. Nevertheless, the prevalence of female sterilization and the age at which women obtain a sterilization are inversely related: In countries where prevalence is high, the median age is generally low, while in low-prevalence countries, women often are not sterilized until older ages (Chapter 3). In high-prevalence regions such as Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, half of sterilized women have 3–4 children. Yet overall, the number of births among steril- ized women ranges from a median of two or fewer in China and the United States to five or more in Africa. In Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, most sterilization users reside in rural areas, while in North America, North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, the majority of users live in urban locales. Sterilization procedures performed at some time unrelated to a pregnancy (known as interval sterilizations) are more common than postpartum sterilizations in many coun- tries located in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. In contrast, postpar- tum sterilizations are more common in some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Regardless of when a sterilization is performed, though, for many women it is their first experience with modern contraception: It is often the case that more than 50% of women using female sterilization have never used a modern contraceptive method before having the sterilization procedure done. Legal and policy issues National laws and policies governing sterilization provision have been liberalized or made clearer in a number of nations. As of 2001, 74 countries had laws explicitly per- mitting voluntary sterilization for contraceptive purposes, while in 55 the legal situation was unclear. In just eight countries, access to sterilization was restricted by law (either explicitly or by interpretation) except for therapeutic, medical, or eugenic reasons in 2001, far fewer than the 28 countries with such restrictions in 1985 (see Chapter 4). Yet a number of nations qualify the ability of some groups (most often women) to choose sterilization. Twenty-five countries require a spouse, parent or guardian, physi- cian, or medical committee to grant their consent before at least some sterilization pro- cedures are performed. Moreover, 24 countries have age or parity requirements that must be met prior to sterilization. What makes people choose sterilization? The prevalence of contraceptive sterilization varies among different social groups, yet socioeconomic status generally does not appear to be associated with the decision to choose sterilization. Nevertheless, the likelihood of sterilization is greater among cou- ples of lower socioeconomic status in countries such as Bangladesh and India, while higher socioeconomic status is associated with a greater likelihood of sterilization use in Latin America and the Caribbean (Chapter 5). Users of sterilization frequently say that they chose the method for economic rea- sons or because they had all of the children they wanted. But other factors also clearly play a role. In particular, friends, relatives, other sterilization users, and health care workers can be important influences on the decision. Misconceptions and misinforma- tion may either encourage or discourage individuals from choosing sterilization. Like- wise, gender issues, cultural issues, and degree of empowerment affect the decision making of women and men. Power dynamics within couples appear to play an especially strong role in the choice of sterilization and the type of permanent method selected. Informed choice and lack of coercion are key factors in ensuring that sterilization clients are satisfied with the method. Regret over being sterilized is generally low among users, but rates vary by region, from around 7% in Colombia and the United States to © 2002 EngenderHealth xiv CONTRACEPTIVE STERILIZATION: GLOBAL ISSUES AND TRENDS about 17% in Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic. Risk factors for regret can gen- erally be divided into three categories: client characteristics (such as age at sterilization and marital stability), circumstances at the time of sterilization, and changes in clients’ characteristics or circumstances after the procedure is done. Female sterilization Even though tubal sterilization usually involves abdominal surgery, it is one of the safest operative procedures: Complications are rare and occur in fewer than 1% of all female sterilization procedures. Moreover, the likelihood of failure is very low, at less than 2% even 10 years after surgery (see Chapter 6). There are two broad elements in the performance of female sterilization: the means of reaching the fallopian tubes, and the methods used to occlude the tubes. The selection of a procedure is determined by such factors as the timing of sterilization in relationship to pregnancy; the need for other gynecological procedures; the woman’s health; the provider’s training, expertise, and experience; the cost and logistics of maintaining equipment; and the availability of back-up services. Female sterilization results in few long-term side effects. The overall risk of ectopic pregnancy is low (although if a pregnancy occurs, the probability that it will be ectopic is high). Perceived alterations in women’s menstrual flow, length, or pain following tubal sterilization (referred to as poststerilization syndrome) have been debated and studied, but research carried out in the United States has shown no strong evidence for the existence of such a syndrome (see Chapter 6). Male sterilization The situation with male sterilization is similar to that of female sterilization: Vasectomy is one of the safest and most effective contraceptive methods, with very low complica- tion rates (especially with no-scalpel vasectomy) and failure rates generally thought to be in the range of 2–4 per 1,000 (see Chapter 7). While potential physiological effects and long-term sequelae of vasectomy have been studied extensively over the past few decades, research has offered reassurance that this method has no serious long-term negative effects on men’s physical or mental health. There is little evidence for a causal association between prostate cancer and va- sectomy, and a panel of experts convened by the U.S. National Institute of Health in 1993 concluded that no change was necessary in the practice of vasectomy. No-scalpel vasectomy, which requires local anesthesia and only a small incision, has helped to revitalize vasectomy provision in many countries (Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States among them), and was the impetus for introducing va- sectomy services in others (such as Kenya and Turkey). However, experimental non- surgical methods of occluding the vas are unlikely to become available in the near fu- ture, as a result of questions not only about their efficacy, but also about their ability to be offered in low-resource settings. Future trends in sterilization usage Projections suggest that sterilization reliance will increase substantially through 2015, especially in areas of Latin America and the Caribbean and in Sub-Saharan Africa (see Chapter 8). In Asia, by contrast, the prevalence of sterilization is likely to decline as re- versible methods become more widely available, particularly in countries (such as China, India, and South Korea) where sterilization usage is currently greatest. Countries where sterilization prevalence is moderate, such as Bangladesh and Pak- istan, will see more modest declines to 2015. Method prevalence is also expected to rise modestly in Vietnam and more dramatically in the Philippines between 2000 and 2015, however, and Indonesia can anticipate a slight rise in prevalence as well. © 2002 EngenderHealth EXECUTIVE SUMMARY xv Potential users of sterilization (defined as fecund women who are in union, want no more children, are not using a contraceptive method, and report that they are consider- ing sterilization as their preferred method) have characteristics similar to women already using sterilization: About half are age 30 or older, their mean number of children and educational level vary widely by country, and they are more often rural residents. Overall, sterilization prevalence over the next 15–20 years is not likely to differ dra- matically from levels seen at the beginning of the century, although the numbers of ster- ilization users may increase simply as a factor of population growth. Future levels of re- liance on contraceptive sterilization in any particular country may vary as a result of unpredictable factors, however, such as changes in sterilization’s legal status, the de- velopment of new contraceptive methods, or shifts in economic circumstances affecting family planning programs. Continued monitoring of these factors, as well as of societal attitudes toward sterilization and fertility regulation, will be crucial to understanding and anticipating demand for contraceptive sterilization services in both developed and de- veloping countries. © 2002 EngenderHealth

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