“I wouldn’t recommend making such an impactful decision at this age and I won’t be the doctor to refer you on for this. I’m sorry.” My doctor’s words echoed around the room and I gave him a sly roll of my eyes.
He gave me a recommendation for a counsellor and told me that I’d have to continue using barrier birth control if I wanted to avoid pregnancy — though due to a hormonal imbalance it was very unlikely I’d ever fall pregnant without assistance anyway.
He simply refused to carry out any type of sterilisation procedure on someone so young and healthy.
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I was 23 at the time and in a stable relationship. My boyfriend and I had spoken in length about one day having a family and we’d both decided we didn’t want children. After years of infertility and irregular cycles I’d come to the conclusion that I was the one who would happily go under the knife, so pregnancy was not something I would ever have to think about again.
I had a feeling before going in for my appointment that day that this is exactly what the doctor’s response would be, based on the tens of articles I’d read by other women my age around the world asking their doctors for the same procedure.
I debated with my doctor in the exam room for quite some time after he’d attempted to console me but he refused to budge. It seemed to become more about his feelings than my choice, he didn’t want to be responsible if I changed my mind, it was his job to ensure I knew all of my options, he felt uncomfortable with it. I felt then as though I was an untrustworthy child being lectured because I was incapable or not yet intelligent enough to make decisions on my own.