UK STERILISATION 'DOUBLE AVERAGE'
Fuente: BBC News
in five UK women relies on sterilisation to prevent pregnancy - double the European average, a study has shown.
On average, 10.8% of women across the UK, Italy, France, Spain and Germany were either sterilised or relied on their partner having a vasectomy.
However, in the UK alone, the figure was 20.8%, a study of 12,000 women, including 2,500 from the UK, revealed.
The lowest figure was in Italy, where 0.7% of women relied on the method.
In France 2.5% of women used sterilisation, in Spain 11.6% and in Germany 16.2%.
There is a range of long-term, easily-reversible methods of contraception available today which women should be made aware of
Prof Sven Skouby
The results of the study were being presented at the European Society of Contraception Congress in Edinburgh.
Professor Sven Skouby, author of the research and society president, said women in the UK were getting sterilised on average two to three years earlier than women in other countries - at the age of 32.
More than six out of every 10 of the 2,500 British women questioned for the study said they were not fully informed about alternative long-term, but reversible, forms of contraception.
"This study provides evidence that a surprising number of women in the UK may be relying on sterilisation procedures as a means of contraception because they aren't being told about other options that deliver the same result but aren't final," Prof Skouby, from the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, said.
"A career change, divorce or second marriage can all radically alter a decision not to have more children, and there is a range of long-term, easily-reversible methods of contraception available today which women should be made aware of."
A spokeswoman for the Family Planning Association said: "We know from the 100,000 inquiries to our helpline that women need more information about all forms of contraception.
"This research shows the importance of providing information about sterilisation to help women make informed decisions."
The pill was the most widely used form of contraceptive in the UK, taken by 27% of the women aged 15 to 49.
Germany had the highest use of contraceptives and the lowest abortion rate.
The study found that 82% of German women used contraceptive methods, compared to an average of 76% across Europe and 74% in the UK.
Germany also had an abortion rate of nine per 100 births, compared to 25 per 100 births in the UK.