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Why Indeed. 
27th-Jul-2007 01:25 pm
Why Do Doctors Get to Decide When a Woman Is Old Enough to Have Her 'Tubes Tied'?
Women under 30 who have made the decision not to have children often find their requests for tubal ligation procedures denied -- simply for the reason that doctors think they are "too young."
This article is reprinted from American Sexuality Magazine.

"I'm sending you this email as I can't sleep after the non communication we had after dinner ... I respect your decision not to have children but what I do not understand is why you get so defensive, you never give why? What's helped you make this decision? I could tell my friends and family 10 reasons why I didn't want a child or a husband [when I was your age]. You just place a high wall between us and make statements that I don't understand and you don't explain. IE, it will never happen I'm making sure of that??? Are you having surgery? Is your partner? Are you ill? What does this statement mean? I make a statement, "Never say never," again you get upset. Lauren*, no one knows what life holds for them... There are some decisions you'll make in life that will live with you forever and I want you to realize this. I do understand this will come with time and maturity. I guess we'll always have a wall between us due to our strong wills and selfishness."
-- love mom (Mrs. Green*)

Ever since Lauren Green was a little girl, she knew she wasn't interested in motherhood. While other girls dreamt of dolls that peed, Green fixated on everything but: "I was going to get married as soon as I graduated college, and I would design my houses and I would design my wedding, but there were never any babies involved."

She's been dealing with the ardent disapproval of friends and family ever since. Especially from mom.

According to Green, now a twenty-five year old graduate student, not so cryptic emails like the above are standard between her and her mother, whose dreams of one day being called "nana" are radically out of sync with her daughter's choice to remain child-free.

"My mother just thinks I'll change my mind. I think a lot of people think I'll change my mind," admits Green, by now all too familiar with the weary, knowing smiles of those who think they know her better than she knows herself. People, so it seems, are somewhat inept when it comes to distinguishing womanhood from motherhood.

For now (at least) mama Green needn't worry; though she's tried, and will try again, Green has thus far been denied any permanent form of birth control, specifically tubal ligation.

Tubal ligation -- known more commonly as "getting your tubes tied," -- involves closing the fallopian tubes so that the egg cannot travel from the ovary to the uterus, where, normally, a fertilized egg would develop into a fetus.

27th-Jul-2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
Doctor won't do it, find another doctor. My wife had hers done at 26. Honestly, it's the flaky dipshits that have it done then DO change their mind (and/or sue their doctors) that ruin it for the rest of the women that really truly have thought it through.
27th-Jul-2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I had this problem as well and never was able to get my tubes tied because I was a poor girl who couldn't afford a lawyer.

I really never have been the kid type. I did have a child when I was 19. I almost died giving birth and he has all sorts of genetic disorders. I was certain before I even knew that he was ill that I didn't want anymore children and still to this day don't.

They REFUSED to give me a tubal ligation because I was only 19. They assured me that I'd "change my mind" someday. I could not find one doctor who worked out of the hospital I was in that would do it. I was stuck there because it was the only place with a NICU. I assured them that I would sign any sort of paperwork necessary saying that I was of sound mind or whatever the fuck they wanted but NO DICE.

I still am bitter about this.
27th-Jul-2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Every time I see an article like this, I am struck by an urge to send cookies and flowers to my gyn, who was willing to sterilize me when I was 25.
27th-Jul-2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
I never sought out a doctor to get my tubes tied. I knew I didn't want children, so I took the standard birth control measures to prevent it. Along with long stages of abstinance/celibacy, and being VERY selective in whom I did sleep with, I'm 40 and childless.

All I can say for the really young women who know they don't want kids is to either find a doctor who will tie your tubes, or be very smart about birth control and go celibate for spells. Or, find a guy who has had a vascetomy (they can get it done with NO problem).
27th-Jul-2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
Not necessarily.

My husband, when he was THIRTY, had to go to 3 different doctors to get it done. The third was "reluctant", but did it. Of course, I had to sign a permission form so that my fully adult husband with no children could get it done.

As for me, two years ago I asked an ob/gyn about getting a tubal done. She looked at me as if I were insane, and gave me all sorts of FUD (fear/uncertainty/doubt) about it.

I was 38.
27th-Jul-2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
Awesome article!

I reposted it to childfree, with thanks to you.
27th-Jul-2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
The hypocrisy in some places over this amazing. In the military I could not get a vasectomy because I was 'too young' at 25, yet if I wanted to father a dozen children they'd pony up and pay the bill and say yay! Got breeder bingoed about it all over in Texas. Finally when we moved to Oregon I decided to try again - and the doc I saw was older, has been in practice for nearly 30 years (with over 1200 snips done - or 2400 if you count both sides!) and did not once give me grief. Simply said 'Ok, you don't have kids, don't want them, know what you want - right?' and that was it.
DW went in for Essure since it's less invasive than a tubal and her gyn didn't even ask why. When DW told her about all the bingoing we'd received she was horrified - said that if you're an adult you know what you want - very refreshing. /chattyrant.
28th-Jul-2007 02:02 am (UTC)
i had the same experience. Portland should set up a sterilization hotline. "Come to Oregon, get fixed, enjoy the salmon!"
27th-Jul-2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
I've wanted my tubes tied since my son was born when I was 19. Despite numerous miscarriages after other contraceptives failed several docs refused. "You'll change your mind..." well, thats MY problem, isn't it? It's not my doctors job to protect me from my own choices.
27th-Jul-2007 07:05 pm (UTC)
I'm a lesbian, etc, etc, and I STILL want my tubes tied. I know I'm most likely not going to have children (biologically at least), and my periods are so bad, and so painful that I literally curl up in the fetal position on my shower floor crying - this goes on for days. If I change my mind? It's my fucking problem, isn't it? I want my tubes tied so badly because I just can't deal with the pain that comes every month. And I'm SO tired of hearing "Ohhh you'll change your mind!" Fuck you. Grrr.
27th-Jul-2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
Forgive me if this comes across as rude, for I do not mean it as such, but how would getting your tubes tied help that problem? A ligation doesn't stop your periods... an ablation may help, but the only sure way to fix the periods would be a partial hysterectomy.
27th-Jul-2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
That's extremely obnoxious. I can sort of understand the mother's constant bugging (my mom found out I was lesbian, and now it's changed from "aw, you'll have me grandbabies" to "aw, you'll adopt me grandbabies ^_^" It's hard for want to be grandmas to accept, and do mothers ever really stop with their bugging? Nah.)

But doctors should NOT be a source of this frustration. It reminds me of the Catholic hospital here won't do hysterectomies or tube tying at all; my mom, who had three kids and was early 40's had to go to a clinic 20 miles away.

The whole argument for not tying tubes is extra ridiculous because tying of tubes is NOT the end of the world if a woman for some reason does change her mind. There's adoption, or even the option of harvesting eggs from the ovaries and having them implanted. Eggs aren't damaged during tube tying, correct? It'd be a more expensive procedure, but it could still be done. This fuss is brainless and insulting on so many levels.
27th-Jul-2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
This is a *common* topic of discussion over at childfree of which I am a member. Every week someone is posting about her doctor denying tubal ligation and even forms of temporary birth control, such as IUDs.

It's OK for a 14-year-old to have a baby, but not for a 34-year-old to get her tubes tied. I'd like to see the government take on legislating testicles, for a change, I would.
27th-Jul-2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, weren't you informed? Women are to be societal brood mares until the elders decide otherwise. Pay attention.
28th-Jul-2007 01:38 am (UTC)
a great deal of what women find available to them is regional. it sucks, but it's true. The first doctor I saw upon moving to the west coast immediately referred me to a surgeon who is willing to counsel and inform and ultimately perform whatever procedure i decide is best for me. had i known that i could find receptive doctors out here, i would have paid for the plane ticket years ago.

the fact is that most young women who claim to not want children DO change their minds, which makes life more difficult for those of us who don't. my policy has always been that we should fix whoever wants to be fixed at whatever age they request. if they change their minds, they'll have to come to grips with their decisions and make the most of the situation they're in, just like everything else.
28th-Jul-2007 01:52 am (UTC)
oh, and all the doctors told me i had to be 40 before they'd consider a tubal. picky picky.
28th-Jul-2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
See, this is one thing that really upsets me. I would totally get a tubal ligation if I could. I have entirely too many things wrong with me, genetically, and refuse to pass my shitty genes onto some unfortunate child. Why should I have to be a certain age to make that decision??

It all boils down to this whole "a woman isn't a woman until she's had children" bullshit that so many people believe. And that fucking attitude pisses me off so much. :/
2nd-Aug-2007 09:21 am (UTC)
this is a very interesting discussion.
i think that if a patient gets through to the doc and goes ahead with such measures they should also be able to discuss the various methods of carrying it out. i can totally see why some women would want it(or similar things)done, such as genetic problems, or menstrual problems, or even just that they have kids and dont want to bother with non permanent solutions any more.

i can also see why some people reckon a change of mind is possible, however, a little credit should be given for a person knowing their own mind. i can also see that if a person is healthy, why mess with the delicate workings of the body? but again , the possible problems should be outlined to the potential patient so an informed decision can be made, and that decision should be respected.

i can see all that, aven though at 34 nearly 35 i have wanted kids for around 10 years and am unable, i have known since i was 13, but it didnt start to be a problem till i was 30 or so and felt that time was begining to run out. i knew i could adopt and planned on doing so, but financially it will be difficult, and getting the right information on available benefits is difficult.. but this has spurred me to get going with research again.
although i cannot understand the non child mindset, i can see that some ppl feel that way, and it is no-ones place to stand in their way
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