More men are choosing to have vasectomies, and fewer women are opting for tubal ligation, figures from a new study show.
The study reports a 40 per cent increase in women between the ages of 35 to 54 citing having ever relied on male vasectomy. The figure is up from 26 per cent in the mid-1980s.
Other figures show the proportion of women who have had a tubectomy fell to eight per cent from 22 per cent.
"From the findings of the current study, the prevalence of use of permanent methods of contraception (vasectomy and tubal ligation) in New Zealand has not changed in the last 30 years," the Canterbury and Otago University researchers said in The New Zealand Medical Journal.
"What has changed is a couple's choice of sterilisation procedure, such that with the fall in the prevalence of tubal ligation there is a compensatory rise in the prevalence of ever-use of vasectomy.
"The shift to vasectomy may be due to ease of performing the procedure, lower risk of complications and change in men's attitude towards sterilisation."
The survey may have under-reported the true rate of vasectomy as it relied on women’s knowledge and recall regarding their male sexual partners’ having undergone the procedure.
A study from the late 1990s found that 44 per cent of men aged 40 to 74 had had a vasectomy.
The study found other increases in birth control methods. Notably, ever-use of oral contraceptives pills was up from 75 per cent of women to 89 per cent and contraceptive injections increased from 10 to 15 per cent. Intrauterine devices (IUD) rose from 17 to 20 per cent and condoms from 24 to 64 per cent.