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Skip the Pill: Some Young Women Want to Be Sterilized

Kerry Balley, 24, is regular woman who knows she never wants to have kids. In today's Daily Mail, Kerry reveals that she plans to be sterilized before her upcoming wedding. She writes:

I can't bear the thought of being tied down, a dependable mother and stable. I admire women who do it, but I've come to terms with the fact that it's just not who I am and I would be completely hopeless at it, not to mention resentful. It's not really a decision I've made, I just know.

There is debate about whether women of a certain age, like Kerry, should be denied permanent sterilization. While some argue that healthcare providers should not help a younger woman do something irreversible that she might later regret, others, like the International Planed Parenthood Federation, say that each woman, regardless of age, should be able to decide whether or not she wants children.

Do you think there should be a minimum age requirement for irreversible procedures like sterilization?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
i hate kids. i'd be a horrible mother. why shouldn't i be allowed to do this if i so wish?
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
There isn't a form you can sign to waive a doctors liability, that would be quite legally unsound and would never hold up in a court 10 years later when the woman could potentially have changed her mind. I don't like the anonymous commenting system on here, it allows people to hide behind their words and not take full credibility for their opinions. I have no problem in sharing my opinions. The things a woman knows about herself at 22 are very different to the things she knows about herself at 30. This isn't speculation, this is fact ! I declared at 8, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 21 that I never wanted kids. Now I'm 26 and my mind has completely changed and I do want them. What if I had been allowed to undergo the sterilisation procedure at 18? How terrible would that have been now? It would have been MY own fault but why was a doctor letting somebody so young make those kind of decisions? Anyway, there is no right or wrong answer about this. If the woman is permitted to go ahead she should undergo all of the necessary counselling and pre-sterlisation checks that other major change patients also have to (i.e. sex change).
TAjunkie TAjunkie 7 years
The legal issue has a simple remedy: sign a form saying you waive the doctor's liability if you ever change your mind. That being said, most sterilization procedures are reversible. So even if a woman changes her mind, she can always look into reversing the process. That should be her right as an adult. In my mind, it's no different than breast implants. You might really want them now, but if 10 years go by, and you change your mind for some reason, you can get them removed. It's that simple.
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
What if she later tries to sue because she feels she was "railroaded" into making the decision to sterilise? It's a whole legal black hole. Why can't she just have an implant fitted or take the pill or whatever? Sure, sex without condoms is great but NO METHOD apart from complete abstinence is 100%!!
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 7 years
Like everyone else, it's your choice. (I'm actually really impressed that there is pretty much a consensus). If you change your mind, you can always adopt.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
Your body your choice. It's that simple.
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
If you are 18 or over, you should be allowed to make a decision. However, I am all for people taking a little bit of time to truly think over what they are doing. This is not a decision to be made based on a bad babysitting experience or a bad teaching experience. This decision should definitely be made after you weigh the pros and cons, and if at the moment you are 100% sure of your decision. Don't do something major if you're 50/50 or think that in the near future you will regret it immensely. That's not to say we deny a woman that asks, but kindly remind her maybe a little extra thinking time could serve her well if she is even the slightest bit unsure. I agree with suziryder, perhaps a waiting period would be a good idea. There are a lot of procedures that require that as well. And if the doctor is against performing this, then get another one. Would I do this? Personally, I am majorly on the fence about kids. I like the idea of babies and I love to teach teenagers -- but anything in between, no thanks. Plus, teaching is vastly different from having your own, even though some days you feel the mom part 2. I could never do something like this at my age. If at 25 or 26 I still feel like kids just are not for me, this is definitely an option. I don't care what my marital status is, and I certainly don't care if people think I am too young. It's not as if I'm 12. I think the reason why people say to not do it is because they had kids and it ended up being a wonderful experience. Not everyone is cut out for a child, not everyone wants their life to consist of a child. Plus, if you did f*ck up and you end up regretting it, adoption is still available.
suziryder suziryder 7 years
It irritates me to read that some of you have been told that you can't be sterilized because you're single. It's outragous that doctors think that once you're married, you'll change your mind, especially if you're in your 20s or 30s and have thought this through. I'm really outraged for you ladies, they seem to be telling you that you need a man (your future husband) to approve this! That you can't do something to your own body without a man saying it's ok. That's awful. I agree that an 18 year old woman should be allowed to be sterilized if she wishes. I also agree doctors shouldn't be forced to do the procedure. Maybe there should be a waiting period between when you ask for it and when you get it, so that you can be sure? I mean, once it's done, it's done. But you can always adopt, there are so many kids out there that need homes.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 7 years
I guess it's her decision to do this permanent surgery, but honestly, life changes people... I can see her wanting to change her mind.
Vanonymous Vanonymous 7 years
I think she should be allowed to make that choice for herself, but I do hope she lets her soon-to-be husband know of this decision. It is her body, but it would very cruel to do this without discussing with her husband. Maybe there should be a counseling/waiting period (similar to when women donate their eggs or have a sex change) just to be 100% positive that you're not going to change your mind. Up until the age of 24, I was convinced I would never want kids. I thought it was selfish to have a child when there are so many unwanted children and I thought I would never want to give up so much of my free time. Now I'm 25 and my mind has changed. I know I'd like to have a baby some day and I'm so glad I didn't make any harsh decisions before.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I never even knew this was an option! I have known since I was a child that I don't want kids. What's funny is everyone except my parents always said "you'll change your mind". But my parents knew I was serious and just accepted that my brother was their only hope for grandchildren. I'm going to be 30 this year and I still don't want children. There's too many things I want to accomplish in my life and I'd be resentful and bitter towards a child if it prevents me from doing that, besides I have really strong views on overpopulation and would hate myself for being a hippocrit. I'm married now and hate taking birth control every day and don't want to take it for the next 15 years until I enter menopause. I think I may look into this.
darkangeldaria darkangeldaria 7 years
Wow does this every hit home and remind me again why I switched doctors. I have been considering sterilization since I turned 18 and have been continually told by medical folks that it would be unwise to consider because I am 'unmarried and will probably change my mind'. I have never wanted children of my own. If I did decide on raising children, I've always wanted to adopt. Every time I asked I get the look of 'but you're so young of COURSE you're going to want a million babies once you find yourself a man!' I'm 27 now, on the pill, have a wonderful man in my life and neither of us want kids - shock! He has a daughter from a previous relationship we both adore but we've discussed it many times and don't want any of our own. We're happy just having her in our lives. Once I have insurance again it is definitely time to explore this option again.
sloane220 sloane220 7 years
i think this is better than a the woman having an unwanted and an unloved child. she should be able to do what she wants with her body.
candace87 candace87 7 years
I think she is old enough to make that decision on her own. I heard of a similar story before where this doctor would ask the girls questions like "what if a millionare said he wanted to marry you but would only do so if you would have his children" and things like that to see if they would change their minds. I used to think that I would absolutely want this procedure (as a teen) and although I still do not want any children at all and possibly never will, I think things do change and one day for some strange reason if i ever do change my mind, I want to keep my options open.
blossommac blossommac 7 years
on 18 years old, the legal age... not for be a women it means you have to be a mom, i think be a mom is something you born to do it, just you know. some people aren't born to do it, that doesn't means they aren't complete. every person have differents road to find the happiness, for some have children isn't included. is a personal choice. but i don't think the doctor have to be forced to do that procedure, i think you will find a doctor who feel comfortable doing that
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