There are many opportunities for men to become involved in family planning, which enables them and their partners to limit the size of their family. A wide variety of contraceptive methods are available. Temporary methods, such as condoms, are designed to space or delay a pregnancy. Permanent methods, such as vasectomy, are designed to irreversibly prevent pregnancy.
Ideally, contraception is a joint responsibility, and the method choosen should reflect the needs and concerns of both partners. Yet, even when this is the case, the primary responsibility for actually using the contraceptive method often falls on one of the partners. When using a male method, such as condoms, or vasectomy, the male partner has the primary responsibility. But even when a couple uses a female method, such as oral contraceptives IUD or implant, the male partner can play an important role in its use and effectiveness.
Some facts about men and contraception
- Men represent half the world's population, but account for less than one-third of contraceptive use.
- Male contraceptive methods are condoms, vasectomy and periodic abstinence.
- The only effective methods of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, require the participation and/or consent of men.
- Women want men to play a greater role in choosing a method of contraception, and men do want a greater role in ensuring contraception is always used.
- For a couple seeking permanent contraception, vasectomy is a simpler procedure, with fewer side effects and health risks, than female sterilisation. However, vasectomy rates consistently lag far behind those of female sterilisation in all parts of the world.
To find out more about male and female methods of contraception, click on the links on the right hand side of the page.