'My body is at risk': Mums denied sterilisation due to age
Australian women are being denied access to sterilisation procedures because they are too young and will likely regret the decision.
After giving birth to three children, and losing one to stillbirth, Tahlia Light decided her family was complete. She experienced severe postpartum haemorrhaging during her last labour and has been advised that it would be medically unsafe to bear anymore children.
Ms Light's GP referred her to a Brisbane obstetrician to undergo tubal ligation, but she was refused.
"It all came down to my age. I'm too young to make a choice," she said.
Light has told A Current Affair that in the same appointment the male obstetrician suggested her partner should instead undergo a vasectomy, despite her partner being only one year older.
"He can make that decision and I can't? He's allowed that right over his body but us females aren't allowed a say over ours?" Ms Light said.
Ms Light has launched an online petition, hoping to draw attention to the lack of reproductive rights of women in Australia.
Mum of two, and stepmother of one, Lauren Clark from Perth also experienced severe haemorrhaging during labour. She was refused tubal ligation from five separate specialists at the age of 25.
"I didn't have enough children and my marriage may not last so I might want to have a child with a future partner," she said.
Ms Clark says women should be able to dictate their reproductive future.
"I should have a right to be able to walk in and say I don't want children, I've had enough, my body is at risk," she said.
Tubal ligation is the permanent female sterilisation surgery used to prevent pregnancy, more commonly referred to as having your "tubes tied".
Sydney obstetrician and medical expert Doctor Ric Gordon says most doctors in Australia will not perform sterilisation procedures on women under the age of 30.
"Once you attain that age the statistics support your decision to do that, even if you've not had children before, you are considered more mature, more world wise, more aware of the possible consequences of your decision," he said.
Numerous medical studies have shown that the likelihood of regret after a tubal ligation procedure is higher if the woman is younger, with one study indicating that if a woman was aged between 18 to 24, she was four times more likely to request a reversal than if she was over 30.
"It is a much more invasive procedure for a woman", says Dr Gordon.
"She requires a general anaesthetic usually because it's either keyhole surgery or an open procedure to take a segment of her tubes or to clip her tubes."
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019