Woman Wins NHS Sterilisation Battle After Four Year Fight

A prominent young female patient who has battled hard to be allowed to be sterilised, has finally been granted her wish.

Holly Brokwell, 30, had spent four years campaigning for her right to be sterilised, owing to her adamant belief that she does not wish to have children.

Brokwell has unfortunately been forced to endure all manner of vitriolic online abuse having spoken out about her desire to be sterilised.

And the young writer is of the opinion that much of the abuse has been gender-oriented and misogynistic.

“A lot of the backlash seems to be related to my gender. Some people find it very hard to swallow that a woman might want to be in control of her body and her future, and this is something we see in every area of life, from abortion rights to workplace discrimination. Many, many people have suggested that I shouldn’t have sex if I’m not intending to reproduce, which is an opinion so old that I can see the cobwebs. No one says ‘just cross your legs’ to men wanting a vasectomy,” Brockwell commented.

Brockwell also suggested that the health service has a long way to go in order to deal with this issue satisfactorily in the future.

“Yes, the men’s operation is cheaper and more reversible, but that’s no excuse for the judgmental comments women receive when they ask about sterilisation. Sadly, I know from experience that those comments can come from healthcare professions as well as friends, family and strangers. I don’t know of many men who’ve been told they’re ‘broken’ or ‘heartless’, or that they’re a ‘waste of life’.”

With the issue now resolved, Brockwell indicated her hope that her experience could inspire other women who do not wish to have children to make the same decision, and to be taken seriously.

“I’d like to see women respected and listened to when they ask about sterilisation. No one takes a permanent, painful operation lightly, and while it’s the doctor’s responsibility to make sure it’s the right thing for the patient, a blanket ‘no’ with no discussion isn’t helpful to anyone. I’m not against people having children, whether biologically or by IVF or by adoption. I have huge respect for parents and their right to choose to have kids, and they’ve supported my choice in return.”

Sterilisation rates in the UK have actually dropped markedly in recent years.

There were only about 8,000 health service female sterilisations last year in England, as compared with 10,000 five years ago.

The media attention that the Brockwell case has received will hopefully help fight stigma related to this issue in the future.


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