by Furry Girl

10.22.10

This post is a part of the Scarleteen Sex Ed Blog Carnival.  Find links to posts from other participants here.  This is veering off the course in which other participants have been headed, since I don't want to write about why sexual education is a good thing, or hit with you my own sales pitch for why Scarleteen and why you should donate, so I've written about a sexual health issue near and dear to me.

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If you have a uterus and fallopian tubes, you've been hearing the same thing since you were in junior high (or earlier).  When it comes to birth control, your options are condoms, the pill, or maybe, if you're feeling unconventional, the shot or the IUD.  But what about those of us who don't want to take hormones or have an IUD painfully jammed up our cervixes?  I got myself fixed four years ago - via tubal ligation - and I couldn't be happier with it.

First, a note on gender and language: for the sake of brevity and smoother writing, I'm going to refer to those who have a uterus and fallopian tubes as "women", but this doesn't mean that I don't consider trans women to be women, nor do I mean to exclude those who do not identify as women, but who may want a tubal ligation.  Birth control isn't only an issue for straight people.  Aside from all the bisexuals, consider, for example, a gay-identified, uterus-having FTM trans guy who fucks men, or a cisgender woman who has an non-op/pre-op MTF trans woman as her partner.  It's just too hard to write inclusively of every possibility and still have concise, readable sentences.

I have never wanted children.  I do not like children.  Where most women light up with delirious joy when they see babies and little kids, I'm just hoping the child doesn't vomit or blow its nose on me.  I choose to focus my maternal energies on my cat-baby and on my various projects.

Our culture demonizes childfree women as profoundly selfish, cold, and unfeminine.  Sterilization for women seems to be more controversial and patently offensive than abortion - I'm not just saying "not right now" to the prospect being a mommy, I'm saying, "absolutely fucking never."  I'd guess there are more places in America that will perform abortions than will sterilize childfree women.

Try on these common responses for starters:

"Aww, you'll change your mind when you hit 30!  Wait until that biological clock of yours starts a-ticking!"

"Sure, you think don't like kids now, but it's totally different when they're your own!"

"Your life as a woman just won't be complete without experiencing pregnancy and birth!"

"Smart and pretty people need to out-breed those ignorant hicks!"

And so on.  All of the sentiments assume, whether overtly or just subtly, that the only reason for me (and by extension, other women) to exist is to pop out babies, that it's where I'll find my "real" happiness in life, and that I'm controlled by a biological clock, incapable of making rational decisions about my fertility.

I've dated a couple of guys who wanted vasectomies.  I went to their mandatory counseling sessions with both of them.  It was easy as pie!  No condescending insults, no pervasive culture of, "Come on, now, all men want to have babies!  You'll probably change your mind anyway, you silly creature!"  They were dudes, and it's natural for dudes to not want to have kids.  No one shames or questions the sanity of men who get sterilized.

I got to watch one of my boys have his vasectomy performed, which was awesome, and took less time than getting a pedicure.  Had I been supplied with a syringe of lidocaine and an autoclave, I could have performed his vasectomy on my kitchen counter using cuticle scissors, a crochet hook, and a soldering iron.  He didn't even need stitches afterwards, and while he spent a few days taking it easy, he didn't need much pain medication at all.  Vasectomy was easy to obtain for him, cheap, and didn't have many risks or a long recovery time.

When I was 22, I decided it was time to get serious about finding a doctor to sterilize me.  If you're looking to get a tubal ligation, I highly recommend doing what I did: get a list of doctors from Planned Parenthood that they refer women to for tubal ligations.  Here in Seattle, I think it was over a dozen doctors.  I called one.  I told the receptionist that I'd like to make an appointment to talk about getting a tubal ligation, but that I wanted to make sure before I even bothered to come in that the doctor didn't have a problem sterilizing young childfree women.  The receptionist put me on hold, then told me it shouldn't be an issue.  My consultation went much better than I expected.  I came in there armed to the teeth to argue about my right to be sterilized, but the doctor was already on board.  He just gave me a short spiel about how tubal ligations are to be considered permanent.  To cap it off, he even ranted briefly about how rude and paternalistic it is that other doctors won't sterilize women who want it.  I was in!

My experience in finding a great doctor on the first try seems to be pretty unique, however.  Talking with other women, or looking at forums dedicated to birth control, you'll see tale after tale of women frustrated at being denied the right to control their own fertility, belittled by doctors and told that no, they actually will want to have children.  I am so glad I didn't have to go through that.

I was scheduled to have a laparoscopic tubal ligation, which means I'd just have one tiny little scar.  I decided that I didn't want a sterilization via Essure or the other new methods of inserting things into your fallopian tubes by forcing things up my cervix and (hopefully) correctly into my tubes.  Firstly, because the multiple procedures involved in these methods sounded more painful and stressful than tubal surgery, and secondly, because my doctor has been doing tubal ligations for 30 years and not once had any failures that he was aware of.  I didn't want to be awake and having someone jab away at my internal organs, I wanted to be knocked out and wake up in recovery when the jabbing was completed.

When my special day in the hospital came, it was a serious, all-day event, not like the "pedicure" my ex had gotten.  I switched into a gown, and got an IV line started to give me a saline drip and antibiotics.  It was done in a real operating suite, with my doctor, an anesthesiologist, and other helpers there to attend to me.  I would have to spend most of the day in recovery in the hospital.  (All this means that a tubal ligation costs loads more than a vasectomy.  My tubal was 10-20 times as expensive as your average vasectomy.)  The method of sterilization my doctor used was placing silicone rubber bands around my doubled-over fallopian tubes, which apparently has a shorter recovery time, and doesn't carry the risk to other internal organs that a slip during a cut-and-cauterization procedure could.  Here are my before-and-after shots, look for the white arrow pointing to the doubled-over sections of tube in the lower pictures:

There was a bit of bruising at the incision area, but after just two weeks, you had to look hard to see the small reddened scar that was barely snaking out of my belly button.  I will probably never have to worry about pregnancy again.  There is a slight risk that my body could "heal" itself, but sterilization beats out other birth control methods for efficacy.

I don't mean to sound like a hippie who's afraid of science, but I'm wary of the long-term effects of women taking birth control pills for 20+ years of their lives.  I've still used condoms for most of the sex I've had in the last 4 years, but I'm happy that my backup method is internal and intrinsic, not something external that I have to rely upon being granted access to.  No one can ever take away my right to keep being sterilized.  It's like a buy-versus-lease question, and I wanted to buy my freedom so no one would ever take it away from me.  Although I think it's highly unlikely the government would de-approve the birth control pill, IUDs, and Depo-Provera shots, I really value that I will never have to leave my fertility up to the whims of politicians and the laws of whatever country I might find myself in.  (And, you know, after the zombie apocalypse, how many years do you think the remaining stockpile of birth control pills will last?)

I frequently meet other women who either already have an active interest in getting sterilized, or dismissed the idea as just too difficult until they met me.  I wish that more people were aware of what tubal ligations involve, and that it's not actually impossible to get them, even if you're young, single, and childfree.  As more women are choosing to not have children, I wish the sterilization was as widely-promoted as other forms of birth control, rather than a method relegated to the end of the list, surrounded by extra caveats and dismissive language.  It's not for everyone (neither are IUDs, the shot, the patch, or the pill), but if you know that having biological children is not for you, don't be afraid to get out there and demand it.  You might get turned down by a doctor or few, but don't get discouraged.

If money is an issue for you, all states have federal funds allocated to providing birth control to those with low-income, free of charge.  In Washington state where I live, this Malthusian keep-the-poor-from-breeding-up-more-welfare-babies effort is called "Take Charge", and in Seattle, you need to earn less than (last time I checked) $1600 a month to qualify.  (The amount varies by area.)  Go to your local Planned Parenthood or other clinic, and ask about funding options if you're low-income.  Also, check with doctors about payment plans - that might be an option if you don't have insurance.

So, this is my own contribution to sex education today: telling you about my choice method of pregnancy prevention, and my hope that in time, sterilization for women will become more widely-accessible, and as stigma-free as it is for men.

A few resources:

* Planned Parenthood's info on sterilization for those with eggs and those with sperm
* The sterilizationqa LiveJournal Community  (Yeah, I know, shocker - people still use Livejournal)
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (I highly recommend the "Biology and Breeding" and "Science Fiction and Fantasy" sections)
The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless (Awesome book)

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36 Comments

  1. "Smart and pretty people need to out-breed those ignorant hicks!"

    I never heard that argument before!

    I'm now on the fence about kids - I was firmly against having them for a a while, and now I'm not so sure. Which is almost as annoying as telling people I *don't* want kids - now they say 'I told you so'. But then I say, 'fuck off, my decision, bitch'. So there.

    Comment by Wendy Blackheart — October 22, 2010 @ 7:26 am

  2. Thank you. I've been considering tubal ligation for years--I am afraid and disgusted by children and tend to think that they would be so expensive, so emotionally exhausting, and, well, not a good fit for my life. And while I primarily have sex with women I hate feeling like I *can't* have sex with men because it's so much more dangerous (just talking pregnancy risk, not STI's).

    But then I'm afraid that all those people are right and I *will* change my mind. I suppose then I could adopt...

    Comment by ella — October 22, 2010 @ 7:43 am

  3. THANK YOU for sharing... I am 23 and have known since I became sexually active at 17 that I didn't want kids. Family and doctors have told me when I bring it up that I'll change my mind. I tell my mother every time we talk (which isn't often) that she needs to stop hoping she will be a grandmother (I'm her only kid) but she hasn't listened for the last 6 years. I have held back for a long time to try and find out about sterilization options because all I've ever heard is horror stories about what happens when young women try to seek out such procedures. When I lived in one of the bluest states in our nation, California, I didn't worry. I figured if I got pregnant somehow, I knew I could have it terminated because, hell, this was a state where trips to Planned Parenthood were FREE! But, when I moved to a more "purple" state with measures on the ballots every election about a variety of women's reproductive health measures the fear started to set in. Here in Colorado we have had measures that would, among other things, require women to be forced to have their IUDs removed against their will for not being a legally sanctioned form of birth control. Your story really makes me want to seek out my sterilization options, having heard that someone like me has had success. Because in the tragic event that one of these ballot measures passes, I don't want to have my right to control my body stripped from me. Again, thank you for sharing... it was a total inspiration!

    Comment by Evey — October 22, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  4. I don't think it's anti science or anything to be concerned about the use of hormonal birth control. I took various forms of it for the last decade, and now that I want to get pregnant, I can't. Who knows what other shitty things it did to my body. As soon as I'm done reproducing, I'll likely get a ligation myself.

    Comment by Sara — October 22, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  5. I think there's something fundamentally fallacious about the "You might change your mind" argument. In fact, it seems to me to make the case for sterilization stronger. Not only is there a risk that your other method(s) of birth control might fail or be unavailable; there is also the risk that you might fall into a bout of insanity and decide to have children. Knowing that most of the population is afflicted with that form of insanity should only make you more concerned about the need to protect against it.

    To put the case in perhaps slightly less offensive terms, even if we knew for certain that your older self would want to have children, what reason is there to presume that your older self would be right and your younger self would be wrong? The "biological clock" idea basically says that you can expect to experience a desire to have children as you get older -- not because having children would be a sensible choice but because of some sort of neuroendocrine process that takes place over the life cycle. Isn't it better to let yourself make the decision calmly and rationally in your early 20's rather than in the heat of such passion in your 30's?

    Comment by D. Claude Katz — October 22, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  6. Ugh. I've heard all of that crap too. It's infuriating. And I've never found a doctor who didn't balk at the idea of doing surgery on someone childless, even the women. Now that I'm 37 people are finally beginning to let it go. But I had to go with what the insurance paid for. And I'm lucky my work even includes birth control, cause it's an extra rider on the policy. I mean how is that not basic?

    Comment by BroadSnark — October 22, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  7. I do have kids but that's my own choice. But my choice of birth control was to get a tubal done. I will not have any more kids. Not with my new boyfriend, not with anyone. My kids are enough. Even tho I was married, him getting a vasectomy wasn't an option for him and me getting my tubes tied was. I never regret it. I did have alot of scarring due to mine, but I look at it with pride that I took an active stand in my reproductive health and did this for me. My doctor didn't want me to do it as I was only 23 but I knew what I wanted and now that I'm in my 30's, I'm very happy about it.

    I'm glad that it's not such a hush hush thing anymore. I am still a woman. I still look, act, feel very much like an empowered wonderful woman.

    Thank you for reminding me of that.

    Comment by Carrie — October 22, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

  8. Wow, this is an excellent piece, thank you so much for sharing.

    "I don't mean to sound like a hippie who's afraid of science, but I'm wary of the long-term effects of women taking birth control pills for 20+ years of their lives."

    I've been way concerned about that for a while, I researched the link between breast cancer and cosmetics a while ago only to find that the reason why those chemicals cause cancer are because they cause your body to make more estrogen which causes a lot of weird stuff to happen when you're not in balance hormonally. You're endocrine system affects you in ways that may be a little bit slower than your nervous system, but every bit as important.

    Any time I tried to take birth control I ended up gaining a bunch of weight and acting like a crazy bitch, which I guess is birth control in and of itself...haha.

    I also tried the herbal abortifacients and have even self aborted with a chopstick! Yeah!

    I use a non-hormonal IUD now which I'm not completely happy with. I don't like the idea of having some metallic alien implant embedded in my cervix or the fact that my body might grow around it and I won't be able to take it out. I have thought about a tubal ligation, but I'm a little worried about committing, I don't think I want kids and I'm pretty sure that I don't but I wish that there was some solution that was safe and not so black and white.

    Comment by Sequoia — October 22, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  9. Wow, thanks everyone, for all the great comments. it really makes me happy to see my tale of success inspire other people to want to get out there and find a doctor that will give them the pregnancy control they desire.

    (On a side, I hate the term "birth control", but I use it anyway because people know what I mean when I use it. "Birth control" implies that getting pregnant means you'll give birth, whereas to me, had I ever gotten pregnant, I would have had an abortion.)

    Sara: I've heard from other women who has been on the pill and now can't get pregnant once they're off it. Judging by my collection of anecdotal evidence, I'm guessing that's a common side effect.

    D Claude Katz: Re: "Knowing that most of the population is afflicted with that form of insanity should only make you more concerned about the need to protect against it." I agree. Even if my fabled "biological clock" goes off, I'm glad that I can make a decision now, as a sane person, to do what's best for me. It's like saying, "We shouldn't give our keys to a designated driver at the beginning of the night, because by the time we're shitfaced drunk, we'll surely think we're okay to be able to drive ourselves home safely."

    Sequoia: Sadly, the IUD is as close to a middle-ground as you can get. It is *possible* to reverse a tubal ligation, but it's not at all guaranteed, and it's going to cost a lot of money. My dad's mother really wants me to be a gold-digger and marry a rich guy and have "lots of babies". My argument for her when I got my tubal ligation was telling her, "Well, you wouldn't want me marrying a man who can't afford to have it reversed, now, would you?" That actually made sense to her, which was hilarious.

    Comment by Furry Girl — October 22, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  10. Thanks for your informative view on it. To be honest, even in Cali it seems it is easier for a male to get sterilized than a female. I too was ready to kick ass on my Planned Parenthood visit but they didnt seem to have any problem understanding that NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO HAVE KIDS and (oh goodness, forbid) some of those people want to be sterilized because they know they lead a lifestyle where, if they were to become pregnant, would have to give up that lifestyle to make that new life work (and who wants to do that, really?)

    Unlike you, I did consider Essure but it was not able to even be performed. I was warned that my fallopian tubes, if not of standard size, might not take the proceedure. However, I had not been prepared to find out that the accessway to my uterus from the cervix is mysteriously absent. I cant fault the Essure proceedure for that, simply because Essure is designed for bodies with tube access that is cut-and-dried. I simply was not one of those women. However, it was informative nonetheless and I now have a better understanding about some of my sexcapade embarassments.

    After that, I admit for logistical reasons tried to find an option that was physically closer. This caused me to leave the Planned Parenthood part of things and go into an independent clinic. Never again. Seems PP is your only chance to meet with someone who will actually let you do what you want and only softly warn you that if you should regret it, it may or may not be reversible.

    Comment by Vixen Blu — October 23, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  11. Vixen: Even if you're not a Planned Parenthood customer, I'd suggest trying them (or an independent clinic pro-choice enough to perform abortions) for their list of who they refer women out to for tubal ligations. Also, check out the LiveJournal community I linked and ask for info on your area. Good luck!

    Comment by Furry Girl — October 23, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  12. Thank you! My mom got a tubal ligation immediately after I was born, so I've always known it was an option, but a shocking number of people have no clue that a hysterectomy isn't the only option for surgical sterilization.
    Now if only I could get over my terror of gynecologists...

    Comment by Lanthir Calendae — October 23, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  13. Amen and hallelujah, sister!

    I had my tubal four years ago at the age of almost-26. I am as happy about it now as I was the day they helped me out of the wheelchair to go home.

    I'm eight days away from turning 30 and my biological clock isn't ticking! I also, btw, found an awesome doctor via Planned Parenthood, and even more awesome, it was in a podunk town in upstate NY. Take heart ladies, you, too can be happily tubalized!

    Comment by Anna Rose Johnson — October 23, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  14. Anna: That's cool to hear from someone else who had a good experience getting a referral from Planned Parenthood. Thanks for sharing. (I was 22 when I got fixed, and now that I'm almost 27, I still feel no urge to have babies.)

    Comment by Furry Girl — October 23, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  15. I'm curious... whatever happened to the diaphragm and the cervical cap as a common device to offer women who wanted to use a barrier method? It was my favorite for many years. I did every station of the cross.

    By far the worse was the pills, because the side effects were insane and they just tell you to grin and bear it. IUD I got rid of after a month. then I was with women for so long it seemed comical to think that someone could actually get "pregnant" from sex. in my late 40s, I started having heavy perimenopausal symptoms and I got an endometrial ablation (cauterizing uterus) which makes it impossible to get pregnant. That's been great, de facto end to worrying about anything.

    I realize I also always used what is now called "fertility awareness," but for me was just knowing my periods and mucus really well. In the 70s I was was in a DIY women's gyno group when I was a teen and we just did lab experiments on each other every week. Best women's lib thing I ever did in my life. Taught me how to use a microscope, perform a menstrual extraction, and of course, wield a speculum with aplomb. When i tell my daughter a group of high school students used to do this, she can't believe it.

    Comment by Susie Bright — October 24, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

  16. Susie: I honestly have never met anyone who uses the diaphragm or cervical cap. I think pretty much everyone's just on the pill (combined with barriers?) these days. It's become the default. I never had any side effects on the pill, but I wondered if it might have been screwing me up in some bio-accumulation sort of way.

    Comment by Furry Girl — October 25, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

  17. Yay for a sterilization article! I seem to remember deciding in my early teen years that I didn't want kids...I realized it'd be nothing like playing with my dolls, and knew it wasn't the life for me. I was probably in college before I realized there was such a thing as being "childfree" and decided I wanted to be sterilized. Around 21 or 22, I brought this up with the nurse practitioner at my doctor's office during an exam. "No doctor will sterilize you before you're 25," she said tersely, and that was the end of it (though I always suspected my doctor himself may've been more amenable to the idea, and the nurse at my college's Wellness Center knew my desire and I always figured I could ask her if she knew anyone who'd do it).

    I finally had it done at 26. After I moved out of my mom's house at 24 to another town, I was lucky enough that the first doctor I picked to be my primary care physician was totally cool with the fact that I didn't want kids (and as in relationships, I brought it up right away, because if she wasn't down with it, I was going to try someone else. No way was I gonna get bingo'd by my own family doctor at every turn). She was awesome about it, scoffed at my former nurse practitioner ("*snort* Well, you're 25 now"), and gave me the name of an OB-GYN to go see. I visited this doctor, somewhat apprehensive, and then she asked: "how many kids do you have?" "None," I said, prepared to argue. "So you're not interested...?" she said. "Nope." That was IT! And wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, I got sterilized. She did ask how my partner felt about it, and after my somewhat-sharp "It's not his decision," clarified that she just wanted to make sure he wasn't going to give me a hard time.

    I *did* choose Essure. In part because it cost a lot less (I have insurance but I also have a 10% co-pay). I was apprehensive about the pain--wuss here--but it actually wasn't that bad. Best part was that I got to WATCH myself being sterilized (which I personally found really cool, but I guess anyone who goes woozy at medical stuff might not agree--my partner is one such person and he broke out into a cold sweat just hearing me TALK about it) and then a few months later had the "confirmation test" (hysterosalpingogram) which gave me photographic proof that I was, indeed, sterile! (think of it as being the childfree equivalent of the obstetric-sonogram print? I just wish I could show it to everybody!)

    Comment by Katia — October 25, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

  18. Katia: Thanks for sharing. I also love the photos of my sterilized insides. It's like my sonogram, I keep it on my fridge. I've read that some women have to get more than one HSG, and for the squeamish like me, I did not want to go through all that, as well as risking that Essure wouldn't "take." I liked going to sleep, and waking up with it all over. If I could afford to be knocked out for pap smears and blood draws, I'd do that, too.

    Comment by Furry Girl — October 25, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  19. Dear Furrygirl, I suspect you may be predisposed to dislike me because of my employment history and/or other reasons, so I hope you will read this appreciation of this post with an open mind.

    Thank you so much for writing this.
    It is beautiful and empowering and vital and necessary.
    There is still so little dialogue about sterilization for women; it's so rarely presented as a choice.
    I'm really grateful that you've described the experience and the resources available so clearly.
    The info about financial assistance and the pictures help a lot in making the notion of tubal ligation practical and accessible.

    I wish I'd had this in 1981.
    When I was 14, in 1981, I went to the Fifth Avenue OBGYN who'd delivered me for birth control.
    I asked for a tubal ligation, because I hate and have always hated children.
    He said "no, you're too young to make that decision."
    So I asked for an IUD.
    "Too young."
    The Pill.
    "Your body is still developing- too young. You get a diaphragm."

    30 years of using birth control later, I still know absolutely that I never want a child, and that the 15 years I spent on the Pill were toxic as hell.

    Maybe if there had been a voice speaking up for tubal ligation the way you've spoken out here, I would have had the encouragement to fight harder for my right to buy, not rent, my freedom.
    Maybe I wouldn't had have had all those nightmares where I dreamed my body was invaded by a horrible parasite and I couldn't get an abortion for some reason.
    I'm almost at the end of my fertility finally, and I can't wait- but it would have been nice to end it when I wanted to.
    Thanks for talking about that possibility to those whose lives could be transformed by it.

    -Suzanne

    Comment by Suzanne Forbes — October 26, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  20. FurryGirl: great article! I met you recently at NoiseBridge for their anniversary party, and I'm glad to read this article and see that we're on the same page. I was sterilized at age 24 or 25 (can't remember), and it's the best thing ever. I also had an endometrial ablation at the same time, so I don't even have periods. I just woke up sterile and without periods-- so awesome. I've never had the inkling of liking children or having any kind of biological clock.

    Thanks for the great article! I've had many of the same bingo-ing experiences from people (you'll change your mind, just wait until you get older, etc) and it's such a two-sided coin: it's ok for them to question us, but FSM forbid we want to question their choice to HAVE children.

    Comment by Brody — October 26, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  21. Whoa, for some reason this is a subject that has totally flown under my radar. This article was really fascinating, thought provoking and enlightening to me.

    I sense that someday I may want to have children, however for various reasons, over the years I'm becoming more and more sure that adoption will be my preferred option.

    I went off the pill at the start of the year(for many reasons and non of them due to a fear of science, being that I'm an atheist, skeptic, jerk!) and since then, have been struggling to find a contraceptive method that I'm happy with. This is an option I'd never even considered for some reason but now I'm going to be thinking about it. Awesome, thanks for a great article.

    Comment by Nio — October 27, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

  22. I love your blog, Furry Girl, and really loved this article! I DO like children, and want to raise a couple, but I have some health problems and do not ever want to become pregnant. My experiences with birth control utterly sucked.

    But sterilization wasn't on my radar screen. Thanks for telling me about an excellent birth control option that I'm definitely going to research.

    And again, kudos on an awesome blog.

    Comment by Timory — October 31, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

  23. Brody: I didn't get ablation because I'm the odd duck who finds menstrual blood neat, but a number of women do combine it with a sterilization. I've considered just getting a partial hysterectomy, since my uterus and cervix are now just spare parts that could get cancer, but aside from the cost, I don't want to risk fucking up my sexual function. Perhaps someday.

    Nio: I don't know what it's like to find a doctor in Australia, so I don't have any advice for you. I wonder if your country is more are less willing to sterilize? I'm surprised how backwards it is on abortion, so I hope it's still a decent place for other sexual health issues.

    Timory: You're welcome.

    Comment by Furry Girl — November 4, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

  24. Yeah I've tried to do some preliminary research on sterilization in Australia and so far have only come up with things about Eugenics. I'll keep looking into it though.

    As for Australia on the topic of abortion, yes it's pretty distressingly backward. Luckily in the state I'm living in, Victoria, it was recently decriminalized but it should have happened a long time ago. Still, I feel better about the abortion laws here in Victoria compared to in New Zealand, where I grew up.

    Comment by Nio — November 6, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  25. Since you advised us to read the section on "Biology and Breeding" and because VHEMT doesn't have comments, I'm responding here.

    I take special interest in this http://vhemt.org/biobreed.htm#intelltest which asks "Q: I’m extra smart. Shouldn’t I pass on my genes?" because I run a website http://reversequiver.com/ which advocates something similar.

    They ask "In light of the tens of thousands of children dying of malnutrition each day, and considering the number of species going extinct as a result of our excessive reproduction, do you think it would be a good idea to create another of yourself?" and then if you answer yes, they say you are too stupid to breed.

    However, they are actually asking a morality question, not an intelligence testing one. What they should have answered is that "you are too immoral to breed." If they wanted to get at intelligence, they could have asked a calculus question or something :).

    Comment by Secular Quiver — November 25, 2010 @ 9:10 am

  26. Loved the post, every time I think about my vasectomy and total inability to accidentally be responsible for another human being -I get a big dumb smile on my face and want to give out Vasectomy high fives.

    But it is not a socially accepted form of birth control for men- not by a long shot. Polite conversation- no way. You have to have close friends and be really drunk before it becomes acceptable- not that I follow that rule, but whatever.

    Finally, insurance covers vasectomy's! I paid a $200 co-pay, heatedly argued with the doctor that being 25 shouldn't disqualify me, and it was done.

    Thanks for this blog!

    Comment by fakename — November 26, 2010 @ 12:10 am

  27. Replace the word "vasectomy" with "orchiectomy", and men asking for the procedure voluntarily in the absence of testicular or prostate cancer will receive the same BS and grief from the majority of urologists, who are primarily male. These things are mine, I already fathered the one child I wanted to have, I had a vasectomy years ago, and I'm ready for them to be gone, now. Damn it.

    Comment by Kathy — December 3, 2010 @ 9:30 am

  28. Secular: My guess is that it is a "you are not intelligent enough to know it is immoral" or "you are not intelligent enough to know that you are not so wonderfully fantastically great that the world will not survive without another member of this species that shares your genes" thing?

    Fakename: Is it really *socially* unacceptable, or just *male* unacceptable, in that macho "OMG you must never do anything slightly violent to your male parts nor are you allowed to make it so you can't make billionz of baybeez even though you'd rather die than be a daddy" way?

    Comment by Katia — December 4, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

  29. I just discovered your blog, and I want to hug you for this post! I am 25, and have actively known and talked to friends and family that I do not want children since I was 13. I have a bad-ass OB-GYN who believes in my wishes, and actually suggested using an IUD, or having tubal ligation. The tubal ligation scared me because of the scarring factor. How bad is your scar now to date, has it mostly faded? Any chance you would be willing to post a picture of the scar, and how the heck were you able to get them to take pictures of you? Too cool,
    thanks for sharing your experience!!

    Comment by Rachel — January 21, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

  30. Haha, "Secular Quiverfulls"?! Are you people going to start a secular creationism movement next? God, that's ace. Let's take the dumbest and most embarrassing ideas from the evangelic right and "reclaim them."

    Rachel: I have scar photos here on my old tuba writeup page: http://furrygirl.com/unbaby/unbaby.html You can barely tell I have a scar from a single-incision laparoscopic tubal.

    Comment by Furry Girl — January 21, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  31. Some truly wonderful content on this site, thankyou for contribution.

    Comment by Yoko Borkowski — March 24, 2011 @ 3:54 am

  32. Wonderful to read a blog post that I can use to corroborate some of my own experiences and viewpoints. For a long time, I've been frustrated by the sheer hypocrisy of the medical field towards reproductive rights. As you mentioned, if I were a man, few people would think any less of me for wanting to be sterilized. If I were 16 and pregnant, I could walk in to any hospital and get pre-natal care. But, if I wanted to abort a pregnancy, I would get lectured at. If I wanted an IUD, many doctors would have a host of reasons I couldn't get one (many of which are proven false, eg. that they will expel if you're nulliparous or that the uterus will 'grow around it'), and as for sterilization? Why would any 'real' woman want to do that? Everyone knows that women want to have children.

    I did get lucky recently, though, and between having fantastic insurance and Kaiser's policy towards Essure, I was able to be sterilized last year, at 25. I did have to sit through the doctor lecturing at me for an hour or so about how I was making a mistake and would 'grow up and want children', but when, at the end of that, I still wanted the procedure, he went along with it. The Essure itself was relatively painless, left me a little shaky the rest of the day and crampy, but nothing untoward, and getting to see the pictures of the scar tissue at the confirmation appointment a few weeks later was really neat.

    Every time I think about -never- being able to be pregnant, I'm happy, and I'm looking forward to a long lifetime of never having kids. ^_^

    Comment by Mori-neko — May 30, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  33. Thanks for sharing, Mori-neko! I get so much feedback from women on this issue.

    Comment by Furry Girl — June 1, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

  34. Comment by Trackbacks — September 2, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

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