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Missing men in family planning: understanding the socio-spatial differentials in male sterilization and male spacing methods of contraception in India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 December 2021

Ranjan Kumar Prusty*
Department of Biostatistics, Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute for Research in Reproductive and Child Health (ICMR-NIRRCH), Mumbai, India
Shahina Begum
Department of Biostatistics, Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute for Research in Reproductive and Child Health (ICMR-NIRRCH), Mumbai, India
*Corresponding author. Email:


Male involvement in family planning results in improved reproductive health and gender outcomes for women. In India, the use of family planning methods remains largely female-dominated. Recent media reports have indicated a rapid decline in male sterilization use in the past few years. This study aimed to assess the trends in, patterns of and factors associated with the use of male sterilization and male spacing methods in India using data from four rounds of the National Family Health Survey, conducted from 1992 to 2016. Bivariate analysis was done to see the trends in, and patterns of, male sterilization and spacing methods, while multinomial logistic regression was used to understand the factors associated with male spacing methods and sterilization. The results show a marked decline in the prevalence of male sterilization from 1992–93 (3.5%) to 2015–16 (0.3%) in India. Of the 640 districts, only 21 had a more than 2% prevalence of male sterilization. Scheduled tribe couples were two times more likely to use male sterilization than other (upper/no caste) groups. Couples from the northern region were significantly more likely to use male sterilization (aOR: 1.68, 95% CI: 1.43–1.97) compared with those from the south. There was a regional disparity in male condom use, with a very small proportion of couples in the southern (1.1%), north-eastern (2.4%) and eastern (3.3%) regions using the method compared with couples from the northern region (9.7%). Couples from the northern (aOR: 8.89, 95% CI: 8.44–9.38), north-eastern (aOR: 11.37, 95% CI: 10.62–12.18), eastern (aOR: 6.96, 95% CI: 6.60–7.34), western (aOR: 4.65, 95% CI: 4.40–4.92) and central (aOR: 10.89, 95% CI: 10.35–11.46) regions were also significantly more likely to use male spacing methods than those from southern India. Therefore, a greater focus on increasing the use of male sterilization and condoms is required in India to reduce the gender disparity in the use of family planning methods.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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