Unmet demand for surgical sterilization among Mexican origin women
Awarded 2009
Large Research Grants
Joseph Potter, PhD
University of Texas at Austin

This project will assess the unmet demand for female sterilization in a sample of Mexican origin oral contraceptive users, as well the factors underlying that demand and the availability of this method of contraception in El Paso, Texas. It will build on the research findings and infrastructure of the project “Border Contraceptive Access Study,” in its fourth of five years. Preliminary results for 1,046 pill users in El Paso, Texas show three surprising findings: a high proportion of these pill users want no more children and large proportions of them want to be sterilized and wish they had been sterilized at the time of their last delivery. In this project, we will identify what motivates women to want to be sterilized in favor of reversible methods, and their perceptions about the accessibility of sterilization in El Paso through semi-structured interviews with a subsample of prospective study participants. We will also explore men’s perceptions of prevailing community norms about who makes reproductive decisions, and men’s beliefs about male and female sterilization through focus groups with male partners of prospective study participants. In addition, we will assess the way that the local health care service context in El Paso affects women’s use of sterilization vs. reversible methods by conducting interviews with health care providers in El Paso. Together, the information gathered from multiple perspectives of women, their partners, and sterilization providers will provide a comprehensive basis for exploring the finding of substantial unmet demand for female sterilization in our study population. It will also lay the basis for a future collaborative project on female sterilization among underserved Hispanic women in other parts of the country.