Tubal Sterilization in Women Under 30: Case Series and Ethical Implications
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OBJECTIVE: According to the SOGC Contraception Consensus, it is recommended that permanent contraception be offered to women regardless of age or parity. Many women who desire sterilization at a young age experience barriers from physicians who decline to facilitate the request. METHODS: As part of a quality assurance project, we performed a review of cases where tubal sterilization was performed in women under 30 over a 42-month period (September 2013-March 2017). We also performed a literature review on the ethical and clinical considerations with respect to young women requesting permanent contraception. RESULTS: We identified 29 women under 30 who had consented for tubal sterilization; 27.5% of women were nulliparous, and 27.5% had a medical condition for which unintended pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of adverse event. As documented in the patients' records, many women expressed prior difficulty in obtaining the procedure. Despite being informed of the risk of regret, most women proceed with the surgical procedure. Three additional women had consented and subsequently cancelled their surgical procedure. CONCLUSION: Women who are well-informed and desire permanent contraception should be offered the procedure, regardless of age or parity. Declining such requests is a form of conscientious refusal and is not a clinical decision.
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