Sunday, April 10, 2011

Getting fixed

Essure is a form of female sterilization or "permanent birth control" that a lot of women are choosing these days over tubal ligation. It's a simpler procedure that isn't as invasive and doesn't require as much recovery time. I think that's great, and will probably be getting it myself within the next year or two. But I'm not so sure about a particular method of promoting it-- making men even more scared of getting vasectomies. Okay, that's not the intended effect of this video. The intent is to show in a funny way that "men and women have something in common-- both want to avoid the knife." And it describes the process of coming around to being willing to get a vasectomy as "manning up," as in, maybe you can't wait for your man to do it. Really?

Showing guys cringing in sympathetic pain while watching a surgical procedure and belittling them for not being enthusiastic about getting it themselves = hilarious!

First of all, not everyone who is interested in curtailing his or her baby-making abilities is in a relationship. Not for everyone is it a decision about which party is going to get the permanent birth control. And with those for which it is, is it really best to encourage the idea that birth control is the woman's problem by default by making vasectomy seem even more scary and horrible? Because you know, that impression is already pretty firmly entrenched. The idea that it makes you less of a man to be infertile is also already well-established. And I don't think the best way to fight that is by saying that the real way to be less of a man is to be unwilling to get vasectomized. Because, umm...that would mean that the male partners of women who get Essure who don't get sterilized themselves are not real men.Yeah, let's leave the whole "manliness" thing out of it.

Essure might be far less of an ordeal than a tubal ligation, but it still isn't a picnic. It also requires going back to your doctor three months after the initial procedure to get confirmation which involves inserting dye into the uterus and getting x-rayed, which is the worst part according to accounts I've read. Both Essure and a vasectomy may be covered by insurance, but the total cost for the former looks to be twice as much or more.  And it's entirely possible that a couple might opt to be as safe as possible and get themselves both sterilized.

So how about not promoting one solution by denigrating the other? Both are legitimate answers to a question being asked by certain subsets of the population-- "I'm not big on this whole fertility thing (anymore). What's the best way for me to end that?" We don't have to make it easier for men to abdicate responsibility for birth control in general in order to embrace a new form of it for women. In my humble view, the more options there are and the easier they are for anybody to get/use, the better.

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