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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


VIEIRA, Elisabeth Meloni. Female sterilization among low income women in a metropolitan region of southeastern Brazil and factors related to its prevalence. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1994, vol.28, n.6, pp.440-448. ISSN 1518-8787.

A survey carried out in the metropolitan region of S. Paulo between March and July, 1992, shows that of 3,149 low income women aged from 15 to 49, 21.8% had been sterilized. Of those women living in marital union 29.2% had been sterilized and 34.4% were on the pill. Four hundred and seven sterilized women under 40 years old who underwent sterilization at least one year before the interview were asked about their reproductive life, the previous use of contraception, the decision-making process regarding their sterilization, the acess to the operation and their adaptation after the operation. The results show that acess to sterilization is obtained by means of payment to the doctor even in the case of low income women. The lack of regulation of sterilization and the insuficient provision of family planning methods by the Women's Health Comprehensive Programme are probably encouraging young women to opt for sterilization. The provision of sterilization presents ethical problems. The study shows that the irreversibility of the procedure was not understood by almost 40% of the women sterilized. The acceptability of sterilization as a result of a complex social strategy involving various sectors of Brazilian society associated with the need for the control of fertility felt by women are discussed. The need to regulate and control the procedure is discussed. The regulation of sterilization would creat fairer acess to sterilization and could safeguard the ethical aspects of its choice.

Keywords : Sterilization, tubal [statistical]; Family planning [methods]; Women health.

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