Sterilization regret among married women in India: implications for the Indian National Family Planning Program

A. Singh, R. Ogollah, F. Ram, Sasee Pallikadavath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CONTEXT In India, female sterilization accounts for 66% of contraceptive use, and age at sterilization is declining. It is likely that some women regret having been sterilized, but data on the prevalence of, and the social and economic correlates of, regret at the national level are insufficient. METHODS Data for analysis came from 30,999 sterilized women aged 15–49 interviewed in the 2005–2006 Indian National Family Health Survey. Logistic regression analyses and Wald tests were used to identify the social and demographic characteristics associated with sterilization regret. RESULTS Nationally, 5% of sterilized women aged 15–49 reported sterilization regret. Women sterilized at age 30 or older were less likely than women sterilized before age 25 to express regret (odds ratio, 0.8). Compared with women having only sons, those who had only daughters were more likely to express regret (1.3), while those having both sons and daughters were less likely to express regret (0.8). Women who had experienced child loss had higher odds of reporting regret than women who had not (for one child lost, 1.6; for two or more children lost, 2.0). CONCLUSIONS Given the large proportion of women undergoing sterilization, the potential numbers experiencing regret are considerable. If age at sterilization continues to decline, sterilization regret is likely to increase. Encouraging couples to delay sterilization and increasing the availability of highly effective reversible contraceptives are options that India may consider to avert sterilization regret.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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