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Accepted Paper:

Voluntarily childless people seeking sterilization in Finland  
Nina Väkeväinen (University of Jyväskylä)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents my dissertation research on voluntarily childless people trying to apply for sterilization in Finland and their experiences of the process. In Finland the age limit for sterilization is 30 years unless person has three children or serious health reason for applying the procedure.

Paper long abstract:

In Finland, some voluntarily childless people wish to apply for sterilization 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 children alone or together with a spouse. In previous studies on voluntary childlessness, sterilization is often described as a welfare-enhancing event. Despite this, doctors are sometimes concerned about the possible regret of sterilization if a person changes his / her mind about having children. In my doctoral dissertation in the field of ethnology and anthropology, I examine what voluntarily childless persons think about sterilization and their experiences of it. I also ask, what are their attitudes toward the current Finnish laws applying to sterilization as well as toward the medical discussion surrounding it? My aim is to discover how voluntarily childless persons themselves define the concept of sterilization, what are their experiences of seeking sterilization, and how sterilization has influenced their lives later on. In my presentation, I present a preliminary analysis of my research material that represent the experiences of some voluntarily childless people seeking sterilization in Finland. The material consists of interviews and textual answers, which have been analyzed by means of close reading and text ethnography.

Panel P173b
Transforming the future: Gender/sexual citizenship and the horizons of hope [Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -