Monday, July 28, 2008

Voluntary Sterilization and Young, Childless Adults

Recently, I was having a conversation at work about young, single guys in their 20s who get vasectomies because they don't ever want children and are terrified of being trapped into unwanted fatherhood by a woman who has an "accident on purpose". There are also those who are sick of having to use condoms every time, and who also recognize that legitimate accidents can happen even with regular condom use.

As with childless -- and sometimes not so childless -- women in the same age group, doctors are reluctant to sterilize people in that age group, taking the attitude that they don't know their own minds, despite being of legal age.

After this conversation, I googled this topic and discovered that many men are lying about their age and sometimes their parenthood status, in order to get the vasectomies. This is, of course, easier for men to do, as a physical examination cannot reveal whether or not a man is already a father as it can with women and motherhood.

A comment made by one of my female coworkers especially irked me. She said she had nothing against this, just as long the man was single or if his wife/female partner gave permission.

Excuse me? No one owns my body but me and as an adult, I have every right to do with it as I see fit -- I need no one's permission.

I know that women used to have to get their husbands' permission to get a tubal ligation, but this was just as wrong, as a woman’s body belongs to her alone, just as a man’s does..

Granted, for those of you in committed relationships, it would be best to discuss this step with your significant other before proceeding, but the final decision properly remains with the person who owns and "wears" the body every day. The hell with getting permission.

As for myself, though I’ve been promiscuous, to say the least, during my entire adult life, I’ve never taken the step of getting snipped. I’ve thought about it, but as cheap as I am, I’ve never followed through. Fortunately, I’ve managed to sire only one child during the course of all these years, though I’ve had a few scares. I guess I’m lucky, careful, or both.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts about the idea of people in committed relationships needing to get the permission of their spouse/sigificant other in order to get sterilized. I’d also like your opinion of young, childless people getting voluntarily sterilized in their 20s.


Tanya said...

I realize that this is several months old, but I just stumbled across your blog yesterday.

I got my tubes tied at 30. I was divorced and childless. Id wanted it done at 21, as I knew I never wanted children, but I was refused. My doctor was very reluctant even when I was 30 because she was afraid Id remarry and one day regret my decision.

Guess what? Im 42 and have no intention of ever getting married again. And getting my tubes tied was one of the smartest things Ive ever done. I know my body and I know my mind and I found it very insulting that my sibling had an easier time finding a doctor to start her female-to-male sex change at age 18 than I did in seeking voluntary sterilization at age 21.

As far as a partners say in my reproductive rights? Just as with abortion, its my body and my choice. And I responsibly choose to not reproduce.

Anonymous said...

I'm 36 and a childless single woman. If a doctor would've agreed, I would have gotten sterilized at 18. But no doctors would do it.
Some reproductive freedom!