Multilevel perspectives on female sterilization in low-income communities in Mumbai, India

Publication Year


Publication Author

Brault, M. A., Schensul, S. L., Singh, R., Verma, R. K., & Jadhav, K.

Publication DOI


Publication issues/theme

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Publication Title

Qualitative Health Research

Surgical sterilization is the primary method of contraception among low-income women in India. This article, using qualitative analysis of key informant, in-depth interviews, and quantitative analyses, examines the antecedents, process, and outcomes of sterilization for women in a low-income area in Mumbai, India. Family planning policies, socioeconomic factors, and gender roles constrain women’s reproductive choices. Procedures for sterilization rarely follow protocol, particularly during pre-procedure counseling and consent. Women who choose sterilization often marry early, begin conceiving soon after marriage, and reach or exceed ideal family size early due to problems in accessing reversible contraceptives. Despite these constraints, this study indicates that from the perspective of women, the decision to undergo sterilization is empowering, as they have fulfilled their reproductive duties and can effectively exercise control over their fertility and sexuality. This empowerment results in little post-sterilization regret, improved emotional health, and improved sexual relationships following sterilization.