To be annoyed about sterilisation double standards?(17 Posts)
Bit of backstory, I'm 24, I haven't had a child and never want to be pregnant or have my own. My DP came parcelled with a lovely kid who I see as my daughter and she and my partner both see it that way - mother isn't in the picture.
My mum and close family don't care that I won't be giving them cousins/grandkids/et cetera. I get the occasional 'well you're too young to know' comments, which I think is utter bull as my partner would be sterilised if he had asked and nobody would question it, but because I have a uterus I'm doomed to regret it eternally if I get sterilised. I want this, I don't want to ever be pregnant, I don't want my body to change in that way and maybe that's selfish, but surely if I want that I should be allowed it? Birth control makes me miserable and I've known since 18 that I want this, but the doctors refuse because I've not had my own child yet. Maybe I can understand at 18, but I've been asking for 6 years now if they'll consider it and I'm starting to save up so I can just go private.
Also, people seem to think it's more important what my partner thinks about this than me :S which is purposely why I'm not saying what his opinion on this whole shebang is. It's not anybody's body but my own and I'd rather be sterilised than have to have an abortion if birth control fails.
Sorry, maybe I just wanted to rant here.
You are right. It's almost seen as unnatural that a woman wouldn't want children. I am amazed you are being refused what you want. Keep saving, your dr should be ashamed of themselves.
You're very right that it is seen as more acceptable for men not to want children than for women, in spite of the fact that it is definitely the women who get the shitty end of the stick on this matter.
However: 1. It is MUCH easier to reverse the operation for a man than a woman, so not quite such a final decision for them (although still not easy). 2. Anyone can suddenly have a change of heart. I felt exactly like you. I was vehemently sure that I would NEVER have kids, then I hit my late 20s and was suddenly absolutely desperate for one and spent thousands on IVF treatment.
That doesn't mean that you will change your mind. Just that if you do, it would be very hard to reverse the procedure. For that reason most doctors would be very reluctant to recommend this for you until you're into your 30s.
It's not even that I don't want children, though, I'd just rather adopt than add yet another health problem (pregnancy) to my already way too long list. It can make half of my problems worse or better, and that's not a risk I'd like to take, nor is it worth them getting worse than they already are. I'm honestly not equipped to be a mother. I have emetophobia, can't deal with people being sick. Puking is DPs job and problem, snotty noses are (reluctantly) mine. I do fine with our daughter but she's at an age you can actually communicate with - hand me a tiny baby and I'm utterly useless and wondering why I'm holding a small alien creature :D
It is a little unfair to say the 'dr should be ashamed of themselves' as a lot of NHS trusts simply won't perform female sterilisation until women are over 30 or have had at least one child. So your GP knows that if they refer you the referral will get rejected. It is unfair and a form of rationing but often the exact same argument is applied to performing vasectomies on men. I think the best thing you can do is try and convince them that you are mature enough to make this decision, so perhaps write to your local hospital and ask for their policy on female sterilisation. Also 'birth control makes me miserable' sounds a little bit weak so you would have to have at least tried several different methods, not just the pill so it might be worth talking to your local contraception clinic. Female sterilisation is not without risks or complications! Have you investigated the essure method, if you do decide to fund the procedure yourself this would be much cheaper.
I've tried every kind of birth control available aside from the IUD, which I don't want to take the risks of. I've heard one too many horror stories, but hormonal birth controls mess me up in many different ways
IUD - non hormonal and again much lower risk than sterilisation. Have you looked at IUS (Mirena) yes hormonal but very low dose progesterone only. Seriously chat to your local contraception clinic and get the facts.
The operation is simpler, safer and cheaper in men, carries a lower risk of side effects, is more readily reversible (although most often not), is more effective than female sterilization, and men have fewer alternative contraceptive options.
For women, long acting contraceptive methods such as the implant and coil are more effective than female sterilization. So I can see why a surgeon/ commissioner may be more cautious about offering female rather than male sterilization.
Saying that, men requesting nhs sterilization will face similar hurdles- have they had children already, what if their child dies, what if they remarry and new partner wants children, would they truly never ever want children under any circumstances?
I can absolutely understand why a woman might want to be sterilized, however I also understand why a surgeon might be wary of sterilizing a young woman- worries that she may regret it (and complain/ sue) if she suffers a complication, it fails or changes her min. The first two are more common in female than male sterilization, the latter I don't know, but certainly anecdotally there is a belief that women are more likely to develop a strong desire for children out of the blue, I know that I did!
So yanbu to feel this way, but I think yabu to think that the surgeon/ nhs need to act upon this.
the IUD, which I don't want to take the risks of. the risks of iud are less than sterilization, surely worth trying? If you mean the side effects rather than risks, surely worth a try as they are variable between different people.
I've had a friend have the IUD coil puncture her uterus, I'm really not willing to take that risk, no matter how low it is. I've had the implant and hated it - hormonal birth control makes me feel miserable all of the time and makes my periods worse, not better like people experience. I would happily sign a waiver saying 'no you can't sue if you change your mind', honestly, I'm really, wholeheartedly against having my own children.
I just want to be taken seriously by the NHS and doctors and seen as more than just a potential baby incubator and as a human who has a right to decide what happens to her body, whether it's the best choice or not.
I was sterilised at 25 for different reasons but had to fight every step of the way. Seemingly the nhs was happier to put me through major surgery every six months for cyst removal (19 and 20cm wide one time) than sterilise. I had no quality of life.
I remember being promised I could have it by consultant then junior doctor going against that. I was furious.
My cousin who is now in her 50s had the same condition and was refused. She couldn't have children anyway as the lumps on her ovaries damaged them and has had no life.
I have a child who I don't remember the first four years of her life due to medication or surgery.
I've never regretted the op.
I think a man of 24 would be denied sterilisation on NHS. They are highly reluctant to do anyone under 30.
Reversal doesn't really come in to their thinking - as NHS never pays for that. And success on reversal (in terms of a pregnancy resulting) is not guaranteed, and chances are much lower the longer it is since the operation.
If under 30, whether male or female, you really need to look to the private providers.
I think you are absolutely right, and after a couple of mandatory counselling sessions with a doctor to make sure you know your own mind, (as is the case with abortions) I think that if you wish to be sterilised on the NHS you should be entitled to be.
But if you ever change your mind not a penny of NHS money should ever come your way in reversal ops, or fertility treatment or counselling to navel gaze and whinge about your change of heart.
It's an elective operation for which you do not currently meet NHS criteria. There are plenty of such procedures. Resources are limited and you just don't fit right now. Go private or look at IUD again - there are times when all procedures go wrong, the risks aren't increased because someone you know was hurt. Anecdote isn't data and the doctors will be using data to suggest the coil for you. NHS isn't an on demand service.
Adoptions are relatively rare these days and typically for older children after a serious break down of care in their birth family, which has long term impact.
You might like to familiarise yourself with the NICE guidelines for sterilisation.
Particularly relevant to you is this:
Risks for later regret. Take additional care when counselling people who are:
Younger than 30 years of age.
Identical guidance for men and women - so if you were a 26 year old man asking for a vasectomy then the answer would be the same. What double standard are you experiencing? You don't describe one in any of your posts. There is no double standard from the medics; your GP is following NICE guidance.
I would also encourage you to consider long-acting contraception. The Mirena IUS is a very low-dose example and the hormone acts locally. If you consider the small risk of perforated uterus to be unacceptable, are you fully aware of the risks of tubal occlusion?
Becky thanks for that link, it's very enlightening. I am nearly 40 with 2 dc and am thinking of sterilisation. DH is currently waiting for corrective surgery for Peyronie's Disease so looking at these guidelines it looks like I would be more eligible. Something to think about in the next year or so.
Yanbu to want to be sterilised and to want people to mind their own business and respect your decision, bit Yanbu if you think you should be able to get the NHS to sterilise you on demand.
The fact is, people just as determined as you do change their minds, the doctors carrying out this operation have to consider that, they can only be expected to do what they are comfortable with when it's the NHS.
You're doing the right thing by saving up to go private. If you want it, then it's right you should pay for it.
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