A radical choice

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

They take control of contraception in their couple. These men chose vasectomy to end the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

Pills, implants, intra-uterine devices; apart from the condom and the so-called "natural" methods, the least reliable, contraception is overwhelmingly the responsibility of women in heterosexual couples. Annual appointments with the gynaecologist, important costs over a lifetime, worries about forgetting the pill, not to mention the side effects – the weight is sometimes heavy to bear in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

Like many women, Marie took the pill for a long time, starting at the age of 19. For short periods of time without a serious partner, she preferred to use condoms. Then, more than 10 years ago, she met her husband who already had children from his previous marriage. "After a while, we got pregnant. After the birth of my child, at the age of 34, I didn't want to take any more hormones in order to avoid lethargy, skin and weight problems. I didn't want an IUD (intrauterine device) because I knew that some women had had bad experiences and, frankly, I didn't want to experiment with my body anymore. So, we used the natural method. I followed my cycle with an app, withdrawal and a large abstinence window", she says.

The same goes for Claudia, 40, married to Patrick, 46, for both of whom this is a second marriage, they point out. Claudia has two children from a previous union and the couple didn't want any more. Over time, the issue of contraception became more important: "I tried everything … the pill, the IUD. Most of the time, the only options are the pill or the condom, but the burden of contraception usually lies with women", says Patrick. The couple began to discuss several options and the vasectomy gradually became a topic, when an event turned their lives upside down: "I got pregnant by accident when I was almost 40 years old", says Claudia, "it was really not planned and expected, so I had an abortion. That's when we both came to the conclusion that if we didn't want children, a vasectomy seemed to be the simplest and most obvious solution".

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