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The woman who recently sparked a conversation on TikTok about tube tying is speaking out after she claimed a gynecologist told her she couldn’t have the procedure done because she could change her mind and meet “Mr. Right.”
Olivia Downs, 22, turned to the video-sharing app on Wednesday, June 15, to relay what she says a female gynecologist told her during a tubal ligation consultation in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Tubal ligation is a sterilization procedure that’s done to prevent sperm from meeting an egg. Not all doctors are willing to carry out the procedure, as it can sometimes be impossible or extremely difficult to reverse.
It also comes with fertility risks if a woman does change her mind.
In her consultation reenactment, Downs said the doctor repeatedly told her “no” because the sterilization procedure is “permanent.” Instead, she said she was given a brochure for a copper intrauterine device (IUD), which has the same efficacy rate, yet that isn’t what she asked for, she said.
Downs’ TikTok video has surpassed 2.1 million views and has generated more than 444,900 likes and 6,900 comments.
Downs, who is a full-time neuroscience student and orthodontic assistant, told Fox News Digital that she never planned on going viral.
“Honestly, I was shocked this video went viral,” Downs said. “I sort of posted it as a joke and didn’t expect it to go anywhere, but it blew up.”
She continued, “I didn’t realize how big of an issue this was or how many women have been in a similar situation, and their frustrations — so it’s been really eye-opening, honestly.”
Downs said people have voiced opposition to tubal ligation because they think that a woman could eventually regret having the procedure.
Downs said she’s heard from critics who have called women “lazy and immature” or are “wasting our privilege” if they don’t intend on having kids.
She wants those critics to stop and listen to women’s reasoning as to why they don’t want to have children before getting defensive and resorting to name-calling, Downs explained.
“Even if someone did change their minds after the procedure, there are always options like getting it reversed, IVF, or surrogacy,” Downs continued.
“Not to mention, adoption. There are tons of children in our foster care system waiting to be adopted into a stable home, and it’s such a wonderful alternative.”
Downs added that it’s not just young, single women who have been denied tubal ligation.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned from this experience is that it’s bigger than just wanting a ‘child-free lifestyle.’ It’s about taking women’s requests seriously,” she said.
“A lot of women in the comments who were denied this procedure had already had kids or were high risk when it came to pregnancy and didn’t want to chance it with other birth control methods.”
Downs said that when she was 13, she realized she didn’t see children in her future, and so far, she said she hasn’t changed her mind.
“The argument that we ‘don’t know what we want’ or ‘might meet Mr. Right’ and change our minds is so insulting,” she said. “Plus, he wouldn’t be ‘Mr. Right’ if he wanted kids.”
Downs told Fox News Digital she’s open to the idea of adoption, but she has no desire to give birth, and would rather focus on her career and how she can be a helpful member of society.
She said most people in her life aren’t very supportive of her choice.
“I’m not bothered by the question of why I don’t want children as much as the negative response once I’ve told them,” Downs said.
Aside from wanting doctors and the public to listen to women about personal reproductive decisions, Downs said she thinks it’s a “backward practice” to protect a potential life “over the wishes of a woman who is already alive.”
“The idea that a woman’s only purpose is to become a mother is an extremely outdated and honestly insulting one,” she continued.
“To put a woman’s value solely on that is so sad and disheartening for women who are unable to conceive. We are worth more than our ability to reproduce. We are still functioning parts of society.”
Regarding other birth control methods, Downs said she doesn’t like that they can have “unpleasant complications and side effects.”
For example, the IUD that the doctor recommended to her can cause heavy bleeding and strong cramps during menstruation, which is a common side effect that the CDC even lists on its Reproductive Health: Intrauterine Contraception webpage.
“We are worth more than our ability to reproduce. We are still functioning parts of society.”
Copper IUDs have a failure rate of 0.8%, while tubal ligation — the tying off or cutting of fallopian tubes — has a failure rate of 0.5%, according to the CDC.
Other birth control methods the CDC acknowledges include hormonal IUDs, pills, shots, implants, patches, rings, diaphragms or cervical caps, sponges, spermicides, condoms, cycle tracking, lactational amenorrhea and male vasectomies — all of which have varying efficacy rates.
“If you don’t want children, why go through the risk of being on birth control that still leaves you with a chance of getting pregnant?” Downs said.
“It just leads to more unwanted pregnancies and more suffering or tough decisions for women to make.”
The CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth found that female sterilization was the most common contraceptive method in the U.S. at 18.1% followed by birth control pills (14%), long-acting reversible contraceptives (10.4%) and male condoms (8.4%).
Tubal ligation reversal surgeries yield a 50% to 80% chance of having a successful pregnancy and cost $8,685 on average.
In some cases, the surgery can cost up to $21,000, according to medically reviewed articles published by Healthline.
“Overall, I just think it shouldn’t be such a struggle to get a procedure like this done,” Downs concluded. “Women shouldn’t have to ‘doctor shop’ in order to find a provider that will take them seriously.”