Will the 27 Year Old Who Sterilized Herself Regret It?


Is 27 too young to make an irreversible decision about your fertility? Brittany Shoot, author of a recent, controversial Salon.com article, didn't think so. Ever since the age of 7, Shoot swore up and down that she never ever wanted kids. Twenty years later, despite dirty looks from doctors and snide comments from friends, she was voluntarily sterilized.

I'm also 27 and have yet to become a mother. While kids aren't for me right now, they definitely factor into my plan down the road. I remember a time when I said I didn't want them at all (likely around my precocious adolescence, when I also made the regrettable decision to opt out of having a bat mitzvah, on the basis that I was then Agnostic). I also remember a time when I said I wasn't sure.

But as I've gotten older, I've changed my mind. And I have plenty of friends who are 26, 28, 30, 33, who aren't necessarily sure or ready right now ... but even if they're nearly positive that they're content to always be a doting aunt and never a mother, they figure there's a slight chance they may want to push a stroller someday. So they stick to condoms, birth control pills, or for a longer-term, hormone-free solution, the copper-T Paragard IUD.

But Shoot was sick of hearing about that potential, itty-bitty chance that she might change her mind. I don't blame her. She writes that doctors wagged their fingers at her, while friends told her she was selfish and ignorant. I agree that it isn't right for any of these people to pass judgment on Shoot's personal health, fertility, and future. 

Society is constantly offering up advice and commenting on women's personal reproductive health. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what kind of childbirth, birth control, or even yeast infection treatment is superior. When it comes to making a personal decision about our reproductive health, extra information and knowledge is always welcome, but judgment is just plain unnecessary.

The thing is, Shoot could have shrugged it off, used a non-hormonal form of birth control (she said that synthetic hormones caused her migraines), and left the window cracked ever-so-slightly should she someday change her mind. But instead, it seems like she got so fed up with others' "rude remarks and disbelief" that she may have chosen to become sterilized as an act of defiance.

In the end, I truly hope that she's 100 percent happy with her decision for every remaining day of her life. But I can't help but wonder if she will change her mind. Her "pat answers" about why she did this -- lack of maternal instinct, low pain tolerance, and concerns about overpopulation -- may not be as relevant to her in a few years. Then, is it possible she could wonder, "What if?" 

What do you think -- is 27 too young to become permanently sterilized? 


Image via uwdigitalcollections/Flickr

birth control, fertility, obgyn


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RanaA... RanaAurora

It's old enough to be a heart surgeon or die in a war. She's certainly old enough to decide that she doesn't want children.

ladys... ladysylpher

If she changes her mind then I guess she will adopt.  But I say  goodf or her for getting fixed,  more people should do this.  :) 

mom23... mom23boys679

Sure is. My doctor asked me 5 times in the OR if I wanted my tubes tied after my third baby. I had all three of my kids by the time I was 26 (23, 24, and again at 26). He said most women my age regret it despite the fact I'm settled down and married. He was right. It took about a week to sink in, and I did regret it. Sure at her age, she's old enough but sometimes you don't realize what you have til it's gone. I hate having this 'forever' factor stuck with me, even though we cannot financially care for another child. There is reversal if she changes her mind, but it can get costly and there is no guarantee her tubes are repairable.

blue_... blue_glass_mama

I was about 28 when I got my tubes tied, I have two kids, both with terrible labor and birth stories, and complications at birth. I am also unmarried and more than likely going to stay that way~~ so I got them tied when my youngest was 5 and my mirena was old. I TOTALLY REGRET IT and I am a mommy already, I think she will find out she made a mistake. I know I did and now I have pets and spoil them like infants and my family thinks I have officailly lost it--LOLembarrassed

Freela Freela

She's over 18, so she's definitely old enough to make the decision.  Will she regret it?  Who knows... I know that I would.  We have three kids, no intention of more, and still no irreversible birth control because closing the door of possibility makes me sad.  And since most of my family went throught menopause at 40 and I'm now 33, I feel like nature will close the door for me soon enough anyhow.  But on the other hand, my best friend is also 33, has always maintained that she does not want children, and still feels that way even at an age where the biological clock might start to tick a little.  She even ended a serious relationship where he wanted to commit but he wanted children and that was a major dealbreaker for her.  Some people just don't want them and mean it.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

It's her body, and she's over 18, so it doesn't much matter if anyone else thinks she's old enough - it's her choice.

madfoot madfoot

Hey. If she doesn't want kids, she shouldn't have kids. Would you want to be the child of someone who didn't want you?

sarahAl sarahAl

I say good for her. She knew what she wanted and did it. I know its not the same thing, but how many other women out there decide what they want in any aspect of their lives and go at it til they acheive it? Most women are praised for having that determination and gusto. Why can't she be as well?

While I love my kids more than life itself and wouldn't give them up for anything, I completely understand how someone could not want kids.

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

She's def not to young.. Some women just don't want kids and nothing wrong with that. I was 25 when I had mine tied with my 2nd baby and I'm 28 now and not a day goes by that I regret it. I'm glad I did it, I'm looking forward to enjoyin my kids grow up without havin to worry about any surpries my hubby and I have. We r both glad :)

joyma... joymama123

Good for her absolutely! More people should consider this option...I know far too many moms who are miserable and act as though they wish they had never had any children.

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