For a study, researchers sought to evaluate the risk of sterilization regret in a modern sample of women based on age at the time of sterilization. To estimate the proportion of women who suffered sterilization regret, they did a retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2015–2017 and 2017–2019 National Surveys of Family Growth, Female Respondent Files. To describe the population and the fraction of those who regret it, descriptive data were employed. Sterilization remorse was described as someone who either had sterilization reversed or strongly wanted sterilization reversed. To examine links with sterilization regret, multivariable logistic regression models were utilized.

The study comprised 1,549 women who had sterilization; 8% were between the ages of 21 and 30, and 92% were above the age of 30. 16.9% of the participants identified as Black, 22.0% as Hispanic, and 57.2% as White. The majority (58.4%) had tubal sterilization between the ages of 21 and 30. The cumulative proportion of regret was 10.2% (12.6% for women who had sterilization between the ages of 21 and 30 and 6.7% for those who had sterilization beyond the age of 30). After adjusting for confounders such as age, race, parity, educational level, and medical reason for sterilization, the only variable that exhibited a statistically significant connection with regret at the time of the interview (P<.001) was age at the time of the interview. Women were less likely to express regret for sterilization as they grew older.

Sterilization regret was more common among young women. Sterilization regrets diminished as women became older. The unpredictability of future desire should be revealed during sterilization counseling, but age should not be a barrier to sterilization.