New mothers interested in long term birth control typically have two options after giving birth. One is completely reversible and renewable every 5 to 10 years, the other is permanent, more expensive, and difficult to reverse. It seems that, for women in a position to choose, the . Why, then, do so many women opt for permanent tubal litigation rather than IUD's?
It's not a small gap, either. Reuters reports that the difference between new mothers who choose to have IUD's installed versus women who solder the babytubes shut is dramatic,
Between 2001 and 2008, women had an IUD inserted shortly after giving birth in one in every 37,000 deliveries, researchers reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Tubal sterilizations, on the other hand, were done after one in every 13 deliveries.
Doctors are concerned about this because many women who opt for sterilization have many fertile years of babymaking ahead of them and may regret the procedure, so they say. Fifteen percent of women who were sterilized last year were under 25.
One explanation is that women prefer the peace of mind that comes from knowing their sterilization is permanent and women who close up the uterine shop want to do so permanently.
Another, more cynical explanation is that hospitals would prefer their patients choose the one that pads their wallets more.
There's also the difference in expense. IUDs cost $600 to $900 for insertion, but are virtually free after that.
Sterilization typically runs a few thousand dollars. Both are often covered by insurance.
Do hospitals push women to get the procedure with a bigger profit margin, perhaps at the expense of their patients?
If there's no difference in cost to the patient, it would make sense for a hospital, a business entity, to lobby for their patients to choose one over the other. They already do it to women who who are giving birth.
Or, maybe these statistics about sterilization aren't disturbing at all. Perhaps women are choosing sterilization because it's what they want and not because they were pressured to do so by their doctors. And if that's the case, we should stop second guessing the reproductive choices of women entirely, even if those choices are permanent.
Image via AP