By Kellie Scott
With two small children and a third on the way — all a result of failed contraception — Queensland woman Holly Maitland is keen to have her tubes tied.
But she says several specialists, including one at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital, have refused to perform the tubal ligation procedure because at 22 she is “too young”.
Ms Maitland said she was aware the sterilisation procedure was difficult to reverse, but did not want to risk another pregnancy. She has begun a Change.org petition calling on the Federal Government to intervene.
“The specialist doctor at my hospital has denied my request to have this procedure done based on the fact that I am 22,” she told the ABC.
“She has made several comments which reduced myself to tears and my husband having to hold me and tell me everything was OK.
“The reasons we were given were ‘What happens if in 10 or so years one of your children pass away and you wish to then have another?'”
Ms Maitland, who is 27 weeks pregnant, said her GP was fully supportive of the procedure and recommended a number of specialists, but all have refused to perform it.
“Our medical decisions are in the hands of people we don’t know. I may regret the decision to have a tubal ligation but that’s something I know may happen and I’m willing to go with it,” she said.
She said her husband, the father of her children, was refused a vasectomy by the same specialist, despite being aged 30.
“So as long as my husband is married to me, he isn’t allowed to make a decision for himself based on his wife’s age,” Ms Maitland said.
No minimum age requirement: Queensland Health
Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked, tied or cut to achieve a permanent form of birth control.
Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service confirmed to the ABC a specialist obstetrician met with Ms Maitland and discussed “a range of options available to her after the birth of her child, including Mirena or vasectomy for her husband”.
“It is very unusual to conduct a tubal ligation on a 22-year-old as there is significant evidence through many studies that there is an extremely high likelihood the decision will be regretted in the future,” they said in a statement.