Who Is to Blame for an Unwanted Pregnancy?


Three women in New Zealand are suing the doctors who tied their tubes for child support after they conceived children, one of whom had severe health problems. All three women blame the doctors for negligence in their getting pregnant. And I say good for them.

Now we all know that nothing is 100 percent and, although I've never had a tubal ligation, I am willing to bet that the language in the surgery doesn't guarantee a woman that she will never again become pregnant. That said, people don't get vasectomies and tubal ligations with the plan that they will use backup forms of birth control. They do so to be done with birth control.

In other words, that is why you get a permanent procedure. So yes, the doctor shares some blame.

Parenting isn't easy. And when a person makes a decision to be done with child-rearing, they usually mean it. And they trust their doctors to listen to them and do right by them. When two people make a baby, we usually attribute the "blame" in percentages, right? Fifty percent is the dad and 50 percent is the mom.

But in a case like this, it seems another percent is needed. One for the doctor. How about 20 percent? That seems reasonable to me.

Because kids are expensive. There are new diapers and bottles and wipes and breast pumps (or formula). There are shoes and sports fees and new clothing and tuition. There are babysitters and car seats and toys and books. The list goes on and on. And then, of course, there is college tuition.

One would never dream of letting a man who had a one-night stand off the hook for the baby that act created even though he likely had no intention of making one. And he would never sue the condom company (though maybe he should), but a tubal ligation is a different commitment. If a woman had an abortion and was still pregnant, we would say that was the doctor's fault.

So how is this different?

I say it isn't! These doctors are partially responsible for the babies that happened on their watch. Maybe not 100 percent responsible. But they are partially and I hope these women win their cases!

Do you think the doctors are partly to blame?


Image via o5com/Flickr

1st trimester


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meatb... meatball77

As long as the Dr did the surgery he's not accountable (as opposed to saying he did and not doing it) he's not accountable.

They could of had abortions if having a baby was that distatseful. 

Nothing is 100% effective. 

momof... momof030404

This is crock AND the reason why there is a shortage of OBGYNs. When my hubby went for a vasectomy we were told MULTIPLE times that it wasnt 100% and that I COULD (although small chance) get prego again. I had to be there to sign papers and so did my hubby! I am betting you get the EXACT same information when you get a tubal. You want 100% honey have the ENTIRE plumbing removed OR stop having sex.....otherwise its ALL on you. Stop sueing the Dr's for sillliness like this.....I am tired of paying the PRICE for it!

nonmember avatar britta

No the dr. is not to blame. It is made clear that the proccedure is not 100% Just like condoms are not 100%. Should condom makers be sued everytime one breaks or is not properly used? No. Nor should the dr. If you want something that works 100% have a hysterectomy or don't have sex. Otherwise use a back-up.

spunk... spunkyldy

I read it wrong at frist, I thought the 3 women were sueing the same doctor which would have made a little stronger argument. Being as it would seem if all 3 women got pregnant after seeing the same doctor for the procedure it may be the procedure it self.  Then I could see the doctor being at fault.  However since that is not the case, it's not 100% effective and they know that going into it.  Should have had the guy get a vecetomy, less dangerous if you do get pregnant at least, that and less recovery time. Heck, if they both got it done then that would have been really safe.  Personally if its so that they can have "one night stands" they should be using said condoms anyway for STD purposes.  My mom has her tubes tied, has not been full blown pregnant in 16 year but has had a couple very dangerous and very scary tubal pregnancies. 

nonmember avatar Anna

If the doctor didn't disclose that it's not a 100% effective then that doctor has partial blame. Enough to be sued? No, I don't think so because that information is readily available anywhere and everywhere that it's not 100% effective. I don't hope that they win because quite frankly they are being stupid as is anyone who assumes that getting your tubes tied is a 100%. Please for the love of all humanity do some research people. If they didn't want the kid then they could have opted for an abortion or adoption, whatever.

nonmember avatar Anon

Sorry but on this one I'm not siding iwth greedy incompetent doctors. Things like this are not even close to the reason there is a shortage of OB/GYNs. Doctors have far too long gotten away with shoddy work then said, "not my fault that didn't work right!" and went on. When a tubal is done right, pregnancy does not happen.

butte... butterflymkm

Hm yeah need more info. Did he give them the information that it isn't 100%? was it explained to them? Too many variables. But I do know it isn't 100%, I'm living proof! My mom had her tubes done and yet here I am! Lol. Obviously technology is probably a little more sound now.

vanes... vanessa5470

I was in a similar situation, I got an IUD, Paragard in hopes of not getting pregnant for a lo0o0ong time and it didn't work. I'm now 6 months pregnant and had the IUD placed in Sept. 2009.

As someone who did not want kids and took the responsible route of prevention, I was absolutely devastated when I found I was pg. When the gyno. removed it, he said that it was misplaced. It would be absurd of me to try and sue the doctor that inserted it.

Bobbi... BobbieKay29

Totally agree with #britta!  Nothing is 100% and these patients are given full disclosure before having the procedures done.  My aunt had her tubes tied and got pregnant a few months later, was it a shock - Yes but now she couldn't imagine her life without her son.   

sunny... sunnybunny5us

WhenI got my tubes tied the doctor did several pregnancy test both at his office and at the hospital to make sure I wasn't already pregnant. He did this he said  to cover himself because if I got pregnant after the procedure I could sue him for child support. I assume this was true, or why would he have put that out there?

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