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Doctors Deter Women Against Sterilization

Holly Brockwell, a 30-year-old website editor from London, is certain she never wants children. She doesn't trust condoms and has found hormonal contraceptives cause unpleasant side-effects.

5 years ago the then 25-years-old, asked her General Practitioner to refer her for sterilization but she was refused. Each year since she returned for permission to protect herself from unwanted pregnancies and each year she has been turned away.

"The response is always: 'You're too young to take such a drastic decision,' ' she told Daily Mail.

Each time she says she has been asked if she is in a relationship. When she informs the doctor that she is not, they question her motives.

"They don't understand that the right man for me doesn't want kids," explained Holly. "I've heard of men granted vasectomies in their 20s with minimal fuss - yet the attitude is women must want babies, while men can easily say they don't."

While female sterilization is available, there is concern that availability is waning. Holly has finally been given the go-ahead but has found there are no surgeons to do the operation at the family planning clinic she was referred to.

One reason for withdrawal of services is fear of litigation, says Peter Scott, a consultant gynecologist at Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust.

"There is no contraception that works in 100 per cent of cases, yet women expect sterilization to be completely effective," Scott remarked.

General Practioners play a pivotal role in whether or not women can access hospital sterilization services.

"Our role is to ensure patients understand the procedure is permanent, effectively irreversible and comes with risk," said Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, a GP and spokesperson for the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Doctors take due diligence to warn women about the effects of sterilization during counseling sessions. Once sterilized, women who no longer take the pill may experience heavy bleeding and pain as they return to their normal menstrual cycle. According to Daily Mail, research has proven single women under 30 are more likely to regret being sterilized, and reversal of female sterilization is not readily available.

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