In a 2018 GMA News report, the Commission on Population (POPCOM) said that only 13 males have availed of their free vasectomy services while 108 availed of their free condoms between January to June 2018. In the same period, 682 women have availed of the commission’s free services for tubal ligation and other family planning methods.
In the same article, POPCOM executive director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III said that a common myth that makes it hard to convince men to get a vasectomy is the idea that that it would lead to the loss of sexual prowess or inability to have sexual relations.
While these beliefs continue to be prevalent in a society where three out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned and the Filipino population is at almost 110 million, there are a handful of men — and young at that — who see it as their responsibility to go for the procedure not only for their family but to unburden their wives in bearing the responsibility of going through different family planning methods including ligation.
Vasectomy as a long-term family planning method
This is the case of couple Julian and Pat Carranza who decided to avail of POPCOM’s free vasectomy services this year. Pat, an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines College of Music, shares that she saw the POPCOM post on Facebook, shared it with Julian and forgot all about it.
“When I saw the Facebook post, I was sure then and there that I was going to have it,” recalls Julian, a full-time stay-at-home-dad currently taking his Master in Education Guidance Program in UP Diliman.
The Carranzas are in their 30s and have two daughters, ages five and three. They said they never thought their age was a factor in deciding to get a vasectomy.
“I’m aware that society thinks that [age is a factor], but there’s no ‘too early’ when it comes to family planning so long as both partners are in complete agreement… there is a ‘too late’ though,” Julian points out.
“We do talk about having more [children] sometimes [and] of having a boy as well but it’s simply not realistic, not in this economy,” he adds.
The couple shares that they couldn’t think of any cons to getting a vasectomy. For one, Pat says, their first and second born were both unplanned. It didn’t help that her cycle became irregular most likely due to stress.
While they tried the rhythm/calendar method and used condoms, they found it wasteful. They also explored birth control implant which came with a “roller coaster of emotions” and non-hormonal IUD (Intrauterine Device) that was “ejected twice” due to bleeding.
“[Julian] saw how I almost fainted after having the first IUD inserted. Sabi ko nga parang humiwalay yung kaluluwa ko for a moment,” narrates Pat. After their second child and facing the challenges of the other methods they tried, they knew they had to settle for something more long-term.
“I always think that it’s the least I can do for all the pregnancy and family planning related hardships she went through.”
What to expect when getting a vasectomy
Related Facebook post
Without fanfare or ceremony—or even telling Pat beforehand, Julian went ahead and had his vasectomy at POPCOM scheduled. He shares these steps of the process:
- Set an appointment which can be done through text, call, or via Facebook messenger.
- You will be asked to shave your genital area a day or two before the procedure.
- Once at the site, vital signs will checked and you will be given an orientation/seminar by a nurse.
- A valid ID will be requested and, while Philhealth isn’t necessary, it is encouraged to bring a Member Date Record (MDR).
- Fill out the corresponding forms provided there.
- After filling out the forms, you will be given a PPE and asked to change into them with nothing underneath.
After that, you just have to wait for your turn.
Anesthesia will be given in the scrotum which Julian describes says is “as painful as a typical injection.” He shares that the only time he felt anything slightly painful was what he thinks is the vas deferens being pulled out.
“The procedure goes for 8 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how calm the patient is. When a patient hesitates, the staff has to stop as well, delaying the procedure,” he says.
On the day he got his vasectomy, the staff says he had fastest procedure. “The mood was really light as we were all cracking jokes while the procedure was ongoing,” he recalls.
“Ang tunay na lakas ay hindi nasusukat sa pagiging matatag lang, kundi sa kakayanan nating umintindi sa kapwa, pagbigay konsiderasyon, at pakikipagkompromiso sa mga tao, lalo na sa mga mahal natin.”
Compromise makes a man
Pat was emotional after Julian got the procedure. “Umiyak ako pagkauwi niya. He just did it. Hindi pala talk lang, he really did go through it,” she says.
Julian was moved by Pat’s reaction but says getting a vasectomy was not a big deal. “I always think that it’s the least I can do for all the pregnancy and family planning related hardships she went through.”
When Julian posted about his vasectomy experience through Nurse Lawrence Estrada’s FB post, it earned 10k reactions, 6.9k shares, and 800+ comments. Some gave it a ‘hahaha’ reaction, a reflection of how some males still feel about vasectomy.
“Naiintindihan naman natin bakit ganoon ang reaksyon ng mga tao, usually yung mga mas bata yung magha-haha react o magjo-joke tungkol sa pagka-lalake ng kliyente o magre-refer sa sex,” says Julian.
“First, we felt we were judged. Comments such as ‘ang bata niyo pa’ were thrown around,” a dmits Pat. “Medyo nakakalungkot din in a way because a lot of women have been tagging their male partners [in the comments section] some seriously, some half-jokingly and they were met with angry reactions or fierce no’s.”
Despite some of the commenters taking vasectomy like a joke, the Carranzas say they are not judging how some people have reacted. They know there’s still a long way to go to change a patriarchal way thinking but by getting a vasectomy and voicing the reasons for doing so the Carranzas are helping break this mindset.
One simple procedure echoes a very important statement for the rest of society. “Nakatatak na sa atin na ang lalake ang dominante, dapat malakas at hindi nagpapakita ng kahinaan kahit sa kahati natin.
“Pero ang tunay na lakas ay hindi nasusukat sa pagiging matatag lang, kundi sa kakayanan nating umintindi sa kapwa, pagbigay konsiderasyon, at pakikipagkompromiso sa mga tao, lalo na sa mga mahal natin,” says Julian.Internet Explorer Channel Network