Volume 22, Issue 1

Regret After Female Sterilization Among Low-Income Women in Sao Paulo, Brazil

According to a 1992 survey of 407 sterilized women living in two low-income areas of greater São Paulo, three-quarters of the women underwent sterilization immediately following a cesarean section, and the same proportion said they were completely satisfied with their decision. Seventeen percent, however, said they now regretted their decision or had done so in the past, 6% were somewhat or very ambivalent, and 2% were dissatisfied (but did not regret the operation). Four-fifths of the sample paid for their sterilization, although voluntary sterilization is a legally ambiguous procedure in Brazil that is often considered illegal. Among one-fifth of the sample, the operation was deemed medically necessary and provided through official channels without charge. Results of a multiple regression analysis predicting age at sterilization indicate that women who started having children at a young age, who had a culturally acceptable number of children, who had had problems with a reversible method and who were comparatively better educated were all more likely to have been sterilized before age 30 than at age 30 or later.

(International Family Planning Perspectives, 22:32-37 & 40, 1996)

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International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health