Family Planning for Human Beings: Need and Methods!
The human population is growing rapidly and this is a major cause for concern. With the increase in population, the resources of the earth will deplete more rapidly.
The environment will be adversely affected and it will be difficult to maintain the quality of life of the large population.
It is, therefore, extremely important to control population growth. In many countries, as in ours, the population grows rapidly because birth rates are high and death rates are comparatively low. In such countries it is extremely important to have a small family.
It is possible to limit the size of a family through various means. One is to prevent pregnancy. Fertilization of the ovum and its subsequent implantation is referred to as conception or pregnancy. Prevention of conception is called contraception. Conception can be prevented in the following ways.
There are a number of methods of contraception that create a mechanical barrier between the sperms and the egg. One method is to use a fine rubber tube called condom.
This is worn over the penis during sexual intercourse, so that semen is collected in this tube and not discharged in the vagina. This method also prevents the spread of AIDS and many other sexually transmitted diseases.
A diaphragm or cap can be fitted in the cervix of a woman to prevent semen from reaching the Fallopian tube.
An intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), or loop or copper-T, is another contraceptive device which can be used by a woman to prevent conception. A IUCD is made of plastic or stainless steel. It is inserted in the uterus. Its insertion causes irritation in the uterine lining. As a result, there is a lot of mucus secretion which prevents implantation of the embryo.
Oral contraceptives can be taken to change the hormonal balance of the body so that the ovum is not released from the ovary. Since the ovum does not come into the Fallopian tube, it is not fertilized. Oral contraceptives are tablets which a woman has to take every day.
These are also called birth control pills. Of all the contraceptive measures, oral contraceptive pills are the most effective. However, the change of hormonal balance caused by the intake of oral contraceptives occasionally has undesirable side effects.
If the vas deferens, which carries the sperms to the urethra, is tied by a thread, the sperms cannot go past the tied point. The vas deferens can be exposed by a slight incision at the base of the scrotum. This incision and subsequent ligature (tying by thread) of the vas deferens by a surgeon is called vasectomy.
In women, ligature of the Fallopian tube can prevent the passage of ova down the Fallopian tube. This is called tubectomy. Both vasectomy and tubectomy ensure that fertilization will not take place.
Surgery can also be used for aborting unwanted pregnancies. However, this is often misused for illegally aborting female foetuses. (The killing of a foetus is called foeticide.) To prevent female foeticide, prenatal sex determination has been prohibited by law.