Early Deciders Being Denied Tubal Ligation and Vasectomy

reproductive injustice

I have received some interesting responses to the current On-the-Ground question: At what age did you decide not to have children?   A good deal of respondents indicated they were 20 or younger when they decided, and some shared how they tried to get a tubal ligation or vasectomy and could not find a doctor to do it.  One woman who responded wrote that she is 30 and still has this problem. This is similar to my own story–

I knew from a young age I did not want to have children.  At 30 my husband and I decided we liked the idea of no longer having to use birth control, so I went to my gyn to schedule a tubal ligation.

He told me I had to write an essay about what I wanted this, he would read it, then decide if he would do it.  Let’s just say I stopped going to that gyn!  With a little more education, in the end, we decided we’d go for the easier solution, and my husband got a vasectomy.

Doctors should not have the power to decide this for any patient. But does this mean it is necessarily a good idea to do it at a young adult age? Based on the fact that more people choose to have children at one time or another, should people wait to do these procedures to be sure they are not going to change their minds?

The majority of childfree I’ve talked to over the years did not always know they did not want children, and landed on their final decision a bit later in life.  2000 Census research put age 34 as the “fish or cut bait” age.  Interestingly, however, since Families of Two came out I have communicated with good number of people 25 and younger who are very sure of their decision.  Might this be the more current trend?  Share your thoughts, starting with this question:

For those who decide they don’t want children, what is the earliest age they should have a tubal ligation or vasectomy?

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