Dealing With Anti-Youth Bias When Seeking Sterilization

"My Choice" written on the belly of a white woman

We should be empowered to make choices around our bodies and exercise bodily autonomy regardless of our age; however, healthcare providers can pose roadblocks. Young people who seek to get our tubes tied or have a tubal litigation/tubal removal are often denied the procedure by healthcare providers who cite our age and the possibility of regret as reasons to deny us the option we want. This article highlights the personal stories of young people–including the author–navigating the barriers to choosing sterilization as a birth control method.

“[Dr. Wendy K. Leung, an OB-GYN and clinical instructor at Yale School of Medicine], who maintained that ‘age should not be the main deciding factor in this conversation,’ said that ‘doctors’ most important ethical principle is respecting patient autonomy, which means putting patients’ needs first.’ ‘I would perform the procedure as long as a woman (of any age) understands the pros and cons of tying her tubes and has thought about other options,’ she wrote. ‘Women should be presented with accurate medical facts, and physicians should trust that women can make the right decisions for themselves.’ “