Holly Brockwell received an outpouring of abuse on social media.
Holly Brockwell received an outpouring of abuse on social media.

WATERCOOLER: Woman wins four-year fight to be sterilised

A 30-year-old journalist has been sterilised after what she describes as a "four-year battle with the NHS" to have the procedure done.

Holly Brockwell, the founder of women's tech website Gadgette, initially asked her GP about having the operation when she was 26. But doctors repeatedly told her she was "too young" to consider having her tubes tied.

But four years on, and after dealing with vitriolic online abuse when she spoke out about wanting to be sterilised, she has had the operation and has hit out at her detractors.

In Australia, doctors are reluctant to sterilise women who are under 30, do not have children, or who feel pressured into the decision by their partners.


Let us know in the comments below.

Speaking to the Independent, Ms Brockwell said: "A lot of the backlash seems to be related to my gender. Some people find it very hard to swallow that a woman might want to be in control of her body and her future, and this is something we see in every area of life, from abortion rights to workplace discrimination.

"Many, many people have suggested that I shouldn't have sex if I'm not intending to reproduce, which is an opinion so old that I can see the cobwebs. No one says 'just cross your legs' to men wanting a vasectomy.

"Yes, the men's operation is cheaper and more reversible, but that's no excuse for the judgmental comments women receive when they ask about sterilisation.

"Sadly, I know from experience that those comments can come from healthcare professions as well as friends, family and strangers. I don't know of many men who've been told they're 'broken' or 'heartless', or that they're a 'waste of life'."

Should young women be approved for sterilisation?

This poll ended on 23 May 2016.

Current Results

Yes. It is their body


No. There are other options


Depends on who pays


Only after proper counselling


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Ms Brockwell said she hoped that her successful campaign to be sterilised would help other young women who do not want to have children to come forward and be taken seriously.

"I'd like to see women respected and listened to when they ask about sterilisation," she said.

"No one takes a permanent, painful operation lightly, and while it's the doctor's responsibility to make sure it's the right thing for the patient, a blanket 'no' with no discussion isn't helpful to anyone."

She stressed she was not against other people starting a family, saying she did not want to become a "sort of figurehead for anti-parenting diatribes".

"I'm not against people having children, whether biologically or by IVF or by adoption," Ms Brockwell said.

"I have huge respect for parents and their right to choose to have kids, and they've supported my choice in return."



Rachael Leanne
I think 26 is a bit young at that age, she might regret in down the track. I have 4 children & had mine done at 35 due to medical reasons & not wanting anymore children. My mum had hers done & years later wanted another child went for surgery to undo the tubes & unfortunately she never fell pregnant, so you really should be careful before you make that decision.

Tegan Gottstein 
I have experienced the same thing even after trying the the implanon, mirena all didn't work for me at 29 married with 2 kids. I had to fight to get on the public waiting list to have my tubes done. Even though my friend at 26 got hers done while having a c section. At Caboolture hospital, this is normal practice for Caboolture hospital. My friend did not receive any judgement of age or hesitation from staff at Caboolture hospital when asked for her tubes to be done while birthing her son via c section.

Jen Jen
I didn't think I wanted kids at 26 either. Sometimes we change though. I think that is the reason they are reluctant. What I knew at 26 is vastly different to now.

Linda Hosking
I asked the doctors to do the same thing when I was her age. They said 'no' thank goodness, otherwise I wouldn't have become a mother, you can't know that that is what you want at that age, we are continually evolving, we are totally different in our 30s than we are in our 20s


Amanda Zamper
This isn't only an issue for women though, men are discouraged from having a vasectomy until either the age of 30 or they have 3 children. Whose right is it to tell a man that he should have 3 children, or that he isn't responsible enough to make such a decision before the age of 30?

Cass Maree
Yes!!! I'm 25 with 3 kids, I have endometriosis and adenomyosis. Public system here was pushing me to have a Mirena. I am unable to. Paid $300 to see a private gyno and she laughed when she saw my age after I asked for a hysterectomy. Have since seen a private specialist in Brisbane who suggested a hysterectomy!
It is disgusting how you can be refused by medical professionals due to your age and their beliefs.
Every BODY is different and every BODY deserves to make their own decisions about their own BODY.

Elisha Lionnet-Chequer 
OMG yes.
I'm 27, I want my tubes tied but I can't get it done because I'm to young.
I have 3 kids. I don't not want any more yet I can't have it done purely because of my age.

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