Risk of Sterilization Regret and Age: An Analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth, 2015-2019

Antoinette A. Danvers, Thomas Andrew Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:To estimate the risk of sterilization regret based on age at the time of sterilization in a contemporary group of women.METHODS:We conducted a retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2015-2017 and 2017-2019 National Survey of Family Growth, Female Respondent Files, to estimate the proportion of women who experience sterilization regret. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the population and the proportion with regret. Sterilization regret was defined as someone who either underwent sterilization reversal or who definitely wanted sterilization reversal. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess associations with sterilization regret.RESULTS:A total of 1,549 women who underwent sterilization were included in the analysis; 8% were aged 21-30 years, and 92% were aged older than 30 years. Of the participants, 16.9% identified as Black, 22.0% as Hispanic, and 57.2% as White. Most (58.4%) underwent a tubal sterilization procedure between age 21 and 30 years. The cumulative proportion of regret was 10.2% (12.6% for women who underwent sterilization at age 21-30 years and 6.7% for those who underwent sterilization at older than age 30 years). After controlling for covariates including age, race, parity, educational attainment, and medical reason for sterilization, the only variable that had a statistically significant association with regret was age at the time of the interview (P<.001). As women got older, they were less likely to report sterilization regret.CONCLUSION:Younger women experience more sterilization regret. As women get older, sterilization regret decreases. Counseling about sterilization should reveal the unpredictability of future desire, but age alone must not be a barrier to performing sterilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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