Childfree Couples & Permanent Birth Control
The number of couples choosing not to have children has been on the rise. For many couples, with this decision comes another one: Should we choose “permanent” birth control—in other words, sterilization? And if so, what method should we choose?
For the guys, the solution is vasectomy. Until recently, this has been a popular permanent birth control option for couples who do not want any more children. These days, however, there is some evidence to suggest this solution is on the rise for men and couples who do not want children at all. For example, according to Brian Frazer of Details magazine, in the past year, “the Associates in Urology clinic in West Orange, New Jersey, have seen a 50 percent jump in the procedure.” And in New Zealand “a staggering 18 percent of adult men there have elected to get vasectomies.”
There is also another option for guys that is not totally permanent, but lasts a long time. It is not available just yet but should be soon. It is called RISUG ("reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance") and consists of two tiny injections into the scrotum. It results in 100% birth control protection for 10 years or more. In terms of failure rate, it is a bit better than a vasectomy, which is not 100% effective, but close.
For women, there are two procedures that have been growing in popularity: Essure and Adiana. Both Essure and Adiana work by putting an insert into the fallopian tubes that creates a natural barrier so that eggs can’t reach the beginning of the fallopian tube, and sperm won’t reach eggs. Both procedures take very little time, don’t require anesthesia, and don’t require any incisions. Both have comparable failure rates--about 99% effectiveness, and are far more cost effective than a tubal ligation.
Which to choose—Essure or Adiana? According to Dr. Schwartz, an ob-gyn in Ohio, although Essure had been on the market longer (Adiana was approved by the FDA in 2009 and Essure in 2002), he predicts Adiana will eventually take a larger share of the market. In his opinion, “…the Adiana device is easier to insert and better for the patient since no part of it protrudes into the uterine cavity or out into the fallopian tube” (which can create the post-procedure discomfort). In a word, “Essure is good, but Adiana is better.” That is why Dr. Schwartz chooses to the Adiana procedure with his patients.
Today, couples that want to have permanent birth control have some excellent options. For the childfree in particular, what a relief!