Male Involvement

Male Involvement

F. Terzioglu

Hacettepe University, School of Nursing, Women Health

Department, Ankara, Turkey

The primary reason for male involvement in family planning is

that the current approach of focusing all family planning attention on women is

not working. Unwanted pregnancy continues to increase despite the advent of the

oral contraceptive and the IUD and despite the great amount of money and effort

that have been invested in making women better contraceptors. Whether or not a

contraceptive is effectively used depends a lot on the attitude of the man. The

great majority of the studies conducted on male attitudes toward contraception

indicate that boys and men are interested in the subject.

The failure of family planning programs to acknowledge the

crucial role played by men in the contraceptive decision-making process may be

responsible, in part, for stagnant contraceptive prevalence rates in some parts

of the world. The development of new, reversible male methods of fertility

control with adequate acceptability levels represents a major challenge in the

field of reproductive health. Indeed, fertility levels dropped during the

periods of greatest male involvement and practically no female involvement in

reproductive decision making. Male involvement in family planning and use of

male methods are associated with the fertility decline and resulted in long-term

benefits for women. Traditional notions about gender roles and family, in

addition to economic concerns, shaped fertility decision making. Individual

motivation rather than choice of methods was more important for positive male

participation in family planning.

Only recently have family-planning associations recognized the

importance of men’s role and motivation in fertility decision making. But now

that this has been recognized, the question is “what can family-planning

and reproductive-health programs do to encourage men’s cooperation?” Thus,

various strategies are implemented to increase men’s awareness of reproductive

health and the accessibility of products and services.

These strategies include:

1) increasing contraceptive options for men;

2) supporting women’s contraceptive use;

3) improving sexual behavior and safe sex practices;

4) narrowing the gender gap for better fertility control.

Moreover, extensive research is required in order to understand

men’s perceptions and needs about fertility regulation and sexual behavior as

well as services development.

As a result; “male involvement” should be understood

in a much broader sense than male contraception, and should refer to all

organizational activities aimed at men as a discrete group which have the

objective of increasing the acceptability and prevalence of family-planning

practice of either sex. Session of the Contraception and Reproductive Health

Society of Turkey Contraception usage in Turkey

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