These methods prevent pregnancy and obstruct the fusion of the egg and the sperm. Some of the important preventive methods are:
I. Surgical Methods:
i. Vasectomy (For Males):
This is a method of sterilization in males. In this method, each sperm duct or vas deferens is cut and tied (ligated) at both ends by a thread. The small piece between the two ligatures is then removed.
By doing so the sperms cannot reach the ejaculatory duct and hence cannot be deposited in the female reproductive tract during intercourse. This procedure is easy and quick and has no harmful effect on manliness of any kind and does not reduce libido.
ii. Tubectomy (For Females):
This is a method of sterilization in females. It involves cutting of the fallopian tubes or oviducts and tying the ends to prevent passage of ova down the fallopian tubes. In this method, the eggs continue to be released but do not pass through the oviducts and hence, no fertilization takes place.
Further when sperms are deposited during intercourse they cannot travel to the oviduct and hence no fertilization can occur. In a new method, tubectomy is performed with the help of laproscope. With the help of laproscope the abdominal organs can be viewed by a flexible optical fibre lens and a cold light source. This surgery is performed by making a small (1 cm) hole in the abdomen.
II. Contraception Methods:
These methods involve prevention of fertilization and conception. Contraception results in birth control and is the basis of family planning. Contraception may be natural or mechanical.
(A) Natural Methods of Contraception:
If copulation is avoided for a few days, i.e. at ±3 days of the first day of ovulation which is likely to be the time period when the ovum is available in the oviduct, fertilization can be avoided. This is called rhythm method of contraception.
Another natural method of contraception is coitus interruptus. In this method, the penis is withdrawn from the vagina prior to ejaculation. All these methods require extreme self-discipline and self-control.
(B) Mechanical Methods of Contraception:
In this approach, various mechanical barriers are used to prevent the passage of semen to the fallopian tube or to prevent implantation.
i. Condoms or Nirodh.
It is a thin rubber tube worn over the penis before sexual intercourse. The ejaculate gets collected in this tube and is not discharged into the vagina.
ii. Diaphragm or Cervical Cap:
It is a large thin rubber cap fixed on a flexible metal ring. It is fitted over the cervix of uterus in a woman’s body by a doctor to prevent the passage of sperms into the cervical canal.
(C) Intra Uterine Device (IUD) or Loop:
It is a very effective method to avoid conception. IUD or loop is made of plastic or stainless steel. It is inserted in the uterus. Its insertion causes certain secretions which prevent the implantation of embryo in the uterine wall.
(D) Chemical Methods of Contraception:
In this method, strong spermicidal (sperm-killing) chemical creams, jellies, etc. are applied in the vagina before copulation, which kill the sperms and prevent fertilization.
(E) Hormonal Methods of Contraception:
i. Oral Contraceptives or Pills.
Oral contraceptives prevent ovulation in females. These pills should be taken daily. Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones resembling oestrogen and progesterone which prevent ovulation but allow monthly shedding of the uterine lining through menstrual bleeding.
3. Corrective Methods:
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP):
If conception has taken place, the birth of a child can be avoided by corrective methods. This can be done by induced abortion or Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) or aspiration. Abortion is a method by which pregnancy can be terminated by either mechanical method or by using hormones. Aspiration involves a virtual vacuuming of the uterine contents by a suction device.
MTP should be considered as a last step that can be taken. It should be taken only in case of an emergency or if there is an evidence of a genetic disease in the foetus and removal of foetus is necessary for the life of the mother. Abortion can be legally permitted only within 5 months of pregnancy by a trained doctor on the request of the would be mother. Even husband’s consent is necessary for this.