(CMR) QUESTION: Dear CMR, I am 29-years-old and have two beautiful children. However, my husband and I have decided that we only want two children and no more. I recently went to the Health Services Authority and told my OBGYN of my desire. However, they informed me I cannot have it done because I'm “too young” – even if I have my husband sign off on the form.
ANSWER: Dear Frustrated Momma,
We are actually very surprised that the any physician at the HSA would have told you this. This very same question has come up before in various social media circles and we were able to find an old posting on it dating back to March 3, 2016.
At that time another poster shared:
“You will even struggle to find doctors willing to perform them at all. I know of one woman who had 5 children went in with her husband begged for one and the doctor still refused she wound up going off island”
Back then, a number of persons shared similar stories to yours of being told they need permission or being refused entirely. In some cases women had way more children and they physicians were refusing to do the procedure. We found it peculiar that an adult women would need permission from anyone else to do something with her own body.
However, we have confirmed that this goes directly against HSA policy and your rights as a patient. The CEO of the hospital informed us then (and the position remains the same) that:
(1) They DO NOT require a husband's/father's permission for a tubal ligation and the policy is in keeping with international best practices. A second party’s consent is required if the patient is incapable of making an informed choice. For example, a mentally challenged person in which case even a psychiatrist is involved.
(2) Tubal ligation may performed for anyone wishing as long as they understand that it is meant to be permanent.
Physicians should discuss the seriousness of any procedure that is permanent and offering “counselling” if it's required. However, they do not have the right to refuse to do it because they think you are too young etc. That is simply NOT their choice to make.
Should a physician refuse to do the procedure we suggest you lodge a formal complaint by emailing the CEO of the hospital immediately providing all the necessary details.