Regret following female sterilization at a young age: a systematic review

Contraception. 2006 Feb;73(2):205-10. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2005.08.006. Epub 2005 Oct 21.


Women who undergo sterilization may later regret this decision. This systematic review examines whether age at sterilization is associated with poststerilization regret. Using MEDLINE and EMBASE, we identified 19 articles that examined associations between women's age at sterilization and later regret, requests for sterilization reversal and undergoing sterilization reversal or requesting in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. Study results showed that the younger women were at the time of sterilization, the more likely they were to report regretting that decision. Women undergoing sterilization at the age 30 years or younger were about twice as likely as those over 30 to express regret. They were also from 3.5 to 18 times as likely to request information about reversing the procedure and about 8 times as likely to actually undergo reversal or an evaluation for IVF. Results of studies that examined risk by continuous age showed a consistent inverse relationship between women's age at sterilization and their likelihood of regretting having had the procedure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance
  • Sterilization Reversal / psychology*
  • Sterilization Reversal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sterilization, Reproductive / psychology*
  • Sterilization, Tubal / psychology
  • Sterilization, Tubal / statistics & numerical data