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Male Sterilisation: Changing the Culture of Families

Western culture is still predominantly heterosexual revolving around the concept of the nuclear family or extended family. Why then do men present themselves for surgical sterilisation? Does vasectomy relate to the high divorce rate and what is the social impact? Vasectomy is often a taboo topic by virtue of the fact that it is a permanent procedure - a man making a choice about his future fertility. What are the choices then, for a man who enters into a new relationship where children are an expectation?

Because such reproductive decisions impact profoundly upon family life, should preference be given to the values of those who will live with the consequences? (Bartels, 1991). Ethical issues arise when we deal with contraceptive, sterilisation and fertility methods. Are the reproductive technologies driven by commercial factors or are they a service that is client focused? If the technologies are client driven, in what circumstances (born out of social pressures) do the clients present themselves?

Contents include

  • Introduction
  • Reproductive reasoning
  • Contraceptive options for men
  • Vasectomy - the statistics
  • Fertility technologies
  • Why men present for vasectomy
  • Outcome- psychology post-sterility problems
  • The impact of sterilization on the family
  • Ethical considerations
  • Duty of the health care professional
  • Acknowledgements
  • References
  • Suggested reading
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Author / Editor Biographies

Gregory Cameron qualified recently with a Bachelor of Nursing following a long career of nursing with the Department of Defence. He has extensive practical nursing experience, particularly in areas related to men's health. At present he is a practising nurse at the QEII Hospital and District Health Service in Brisbane and is undertaking an Occupational Health and Safety Graduate Diploma at the Queensland University of Technology.
RN, BSc and PhD.
Stephen Harrop qualified as a registered nurse in 1980. He underwent hospital-based training at Darwin Hospital in the Northern Territory. He has nursed in a wide variety of areas including remote Australian regions and metropolitan acute care settings. More recently, he completed a Bachelor of Science in bioscience and was awarded his doctorate for studies in tropical health and medical-based molecular biology. His strong interest in the men's movement involves him in a number of Brisbane-based groups.

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