Voluntarily childless people seeking sterilization in Finland and their experiences of the procedure's effects on well-being

Main funder

Funder's project number00211175

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 26 000,00

Project timetable

Project start date01/02/2021

Project end date31/01/2022


In my doctoral dissertation I examine voluntarily childless people who are seeking sterilization in Finland and their experiences of the effects of the procedure on their own well-being. Sterilization refers to a surgical procedure which primary purpose is to make a person permanently unable to reproduce. It is one of the available contraceptive methods, differing from other methods in that the effect is usually permanent and the availability of the procedure is regulated by law. In Finland, some of the voluntarily childless people wish to apply for a sterilization procedure before the age of 30. However, this is usually not possible, because according to the Finnish sterilization Act (1970/283), a person who does not have significant health reasons for applying for sterilization must be 30 years of age or have 3 minor children alone or together with a spouse. The law has been criticized patronizing individuals because the discretion of a childless individual under the age of 30 is not considered a sufficient basis for the implementation of the procedure and therefore for a decision about their own permanent childlessness. On the other hand, from a medical perspective, the possible regret of the procedure is seen as a risk to the person's well-being, if he or she changes his / her mind about having children. In my research, I ask at what the thoughts and experiences of voluntarily childless people are about sterilization and how they relate to the current legislation and the medical discussion about the topic. My purpose is to find out how voluntarily childless people themselves define a concept of sterilization, what are their experiences of seeking the procedure and how sterilization has influenced their lives later on. In addition, the study also examines the doctors’ views on sterilization as a contraceptive method for childless persons. The research is based on theme writings and interview material collected during the years 2021–2022, which I analyze by using the methods of text ethnography and close reading.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

Fields of science

Keywords (YSO)

Free keywords

voluntary childlessness; sterilization; vasectomy; contraceptive methods; meanings; experiences; medical ethics; bioethics

Last updated on 2022-06-09 at 08:31