Young mum Holly Maitland denied sterilisation

Holly Maitland has started a petition to change women's rights around making health decisions. Photo / Facebook
Holly Maitland has started a petition to change women's rights around making health decisions. Photo / Facebook

Holly Maitland is only 22, but after three unplanned pregnancies in as many years, she wants to undergo female sterilsation.

However, the young Queensland mum has been repeatedly denied the medical procedure on the basis of her age.

Her husband Jonathan, 30, has requested a vasectomy too. Despite support from the couple's GP, he has also been refused based on his wife's age.

Currently pregnant with their third child, Maitland has launched an online petition asking Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to give women the right to make decisions about their own health.

"We don't want to risk another failed contraception because we've obviously already had three," Maitland told The Cairns Post.

"It's not a decision we've just come up with ... I've sat down and gone through the pros and cons, I know that in 10 years' time I can't walk into the doctor's office and say 'I want my tubes untied'."

Maitland's request has also been prompted by her history of gestational diabetes and complicated labours. She fears her body wouldn't cope with another pregnancy.

The first time Maitland fell pregnant, she had been in her current relationship just four months. She says things have become strained between her and her husband and blames the constant struggle to find effective contraception.

"We've now got to find a bigger car to fit three seats in it, then there's the house," she said. "We're currently living with my in-laws at the moment for the simple reason we have to find a bigger house."

According to The Cairns Post, specialist obstetrician Dr Samantha Scherman met with Maitland last week to discuss alternative, effective contraception options.

"It is very unusual to conduct a tubal ligation on a 22-year-old as there is significant evidence through many studies that there is an extremely high likelihood the decision will be regretted in the future," said Dr Scherman.

Maitland's campaign and online petition are slowly gaining traction and she says if her effortts can help at least one person, she'll be happy.

Holly Brockwell's story

Earlier this year, British woman Holly Brockwell won the right to be sterilised.

She endured a four-year battle in the public eye and became the subject of heavy personal abuse. Read her story in her own words here.

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