Mum of three denied tubal ligation because she's 'too young'

Holly Maitland is petitioning the government for changes.
Holly Maitland is petitioning the government for changes. Photo: Facebook

A 22-year-old woman who is pregnant with her third child has had her requests for a tubal ligation denied because doctors believe she is too young.

Holly Maitland says her husband, who is 30, has also been denied a vasectomy due to his wife's age.

The Queensland couple is angry they are not being allowed to access permanent birth control and plan to petition the government and health authorities about the issue.

"The specialist doctor at my hospital has denied my request to have this procedure done based on the fact that I am 22," she told the ABC.

"She has made several comments which reduced myself to tears and my husband having to hold me and tell me everything was okay.

"The reasons we were given were 'What happens if in 10 or so years one of your children pass away and you wish to then have another?'"

A tubal ligation involves cutting and tying a woman's Fallopian tubes to prevent conception.

Ms Maitland, now 27 weeks pregnant, has conceived three times in three years, and said she and husband were using contraception each time.

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In addition to the financial pressures of caring for three young children, Ms Maitland also fears her body would not cope well with any further pregnancies. As well as gestational diabetes, she has also had difficult and complicated labours.

"We've now got to find a bigger car to fit three seats in it, then there's the house," she told The Cairns Post.

"We're currently living with my in-laws at the moment for the simple reason we have to find a bigger house.

"It's too much on my body as well."

The couple is aware the procedures they are seeking are considered permanent and believe the choice should be theirs alone.

"Our medical decisions are in the hands of people we don't know. I may regret the decision to have a tubal ligation but that's something I know may happen and I'm willing to go with it," Ms Maitland told ABC.

"So as long as my husband is married to me, he isn't allowed to make a decision for himself based on his wife's age."

A spokesperson for Queensland Health confirmed a specialist had denied Ms Maitland's request for a tubal ligation but said there was no minimum age at which procedure can be performed.

"It is very unusual to conduct a tubal ligation on a 22-year-old as there is significant evidence through many studies that there is an extremely high likelihood the decision will be regretted in the future," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"Tubal ligation is considered to be a permanent procedure."

"There is no minimum age for tubal ligation in Queensland, but decisions are made by the treating clinician based on an individual's clinical circumstances."

Ms Maitland has started a Change.org petition about the issue and is urging people to show their support by signing it.

Since going public with her complaint, Ms Maitland has been told her case will be investigated by senior staff at Queensland Health.