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Woman, 30, gets sterilised on the NHS following four-year battle

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A 30-year-old woman has been sterilised on the NHS, following a four-year battle.

Holly Brockwell was initially refused the procedure by doctors, aged 26, told she was too young to even consider it and should wait a few years.

Doctors suggested that her boyfriend – now aged 24 – should get a vasectomy instead.

Finally referred for treatment last year, Brockwell underwent the operation this weekend.

Brockwell was intent on getting her tubes tied from a young age, having been told by her mother that she never wanted children, but her mother was persuaded to change her mind by her first and second husbands, and was then left to care for them alone.



Keen to avoid ever being persuaded to change her mind, Brockwell has always been firm in her decision.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday following the treatment, Brockwell said she was feeling ‘euphoric’ to know for certain that she will never have children, and will no longer need to keep “an emergency pregnancy test in [her] desk drawer.”

“It was a simple procedure at St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London,” she writes.

“Doctors made an incision by my belly button, and put a metal clip on each of the fallopian tubes. I was in and out of surgery in less than an hour, and went home the same day, feeling nauseous but delighted.”

holly brockwell

Holly Brockwell

But not everyone was delighted with Brockwell’s decision. The online editor was subjected to an onslaught of abuse when she announced that she wanted to be sterilised, from people saying she would regret it, to people being abusive and misogynistic.

“I’ve suffered horrendous attacks on my character, looks, career, even my partner. I’ve been called names that I can’t repeat in a family newspaper, and all because I don’t want to become a mother,” she writes.

Many people questioned why Brockwell wouldn’t simply take other forms of contraception, but the 30-year-old suffered on the pill, and has considered all other types. Additionally, staunch in her decision not to have children, she believes it simply makes more sense this way:

“I don’t really understand the abuse I’ve had for what seems to me to be a sensible decision. I don’t want a baby, so I’m making sure I don’t get pregnant.”

There has been a lot of talk recently about women deciding to go child-free, abandoning the word child ‘less’.



Kim Cattrall opened up about her own decision not to have children, saying she abhorred the word childless: “It sounds like you’re less because you haven’t had a child”, and celebrities including Jennifer Anniston, Dolly Parton and Cameron Diaz have all spoken out about society’s pressure on women to be mothers.

Journalist Caroline Criado-Perez wrote a powerful Ask a Feminist on the subject, saying “There is still something deeply taboo about a woman announcing that she doesn’t want to procreate.”

“No one asks mothers why they do want a child. Wanting – or not wanting – children is instinctive: you just know, and I just know that I don’t want them,” says Brockwell. 

Images: iStock, Rex Features

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