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Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization - An interagency statement

Publication year: 
Corporate author: 
World Health Organisation
Publication details: 
Geneva:WHO, 2014

Among other contraceptive methods, sterilization is an important option for individuals and couples to control their fertility. Sterilization is one of the most widely used forms of contraception in the world. When performed according to appropriate clinical standards with informed consent, sterilization methods such as vasectomy and tubal ligation are safe and effective means of permanently controlling fertility. In this document, sterilization refers not just to interventions where the intention is to limit fertility – for example tubal
ligation and vasectomy – but also to situations where loss of fertility is a secondary outcome.
Like any other contraceptive method, sterilization should only be provided with the full, free and informed consent of the individual. However, in some countries, people belonging to certain population groups, including people living with HIV, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, and transgender and intersex persons, continue to be sterilized without their full, free and informed consent. This statement aims to contribute to the elimination of forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization. It reaffirms that sterilization as a method of contraception and family planning should be available, accessible, acceptable, of good quality, and free from discrimination, coercion and violence, and that laws, regulations, policies and practices should ensure that the provision of procedures resulting in sterilization is based on the full, free and informed decision-making of the person concerned.