Health and Wellness

Doctor denies lesbian a hysterectomy in case her “sexual orientation changes”

A doctor and a patient
Photo: Shutterstock

A lesbian in Ireland was told by her doctor she could not receive a hysterectomy on the off-chance that she turned straight, she married a man, and that man wanted to have children.

27-year-old Rachel Champ has had excruciatingly painful periods since the age of 10. Despite her agony, doctors continued to assure her they were merely bad periods. Only within the past couple of years did doctors finally discover multiple cysts on both of her ovaries consistent with endometriosis.

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Throughout her life, no amount of medicine has made her feel better. She even had two surgeries that did nothing to stop the pain. She finally asked her doctor about a possible hysterectomy.

“After 17 years, and potentially another 20-plus years of this pain depending on when I go into menopause, I wanted to know at what point can I make the decision to have a hysterectomy to improve my quality of life, and put an end to the period pain I have experienced for nearly two-thirds of my life,” Champ told Buzzfeed.

The doctor, however, told Champ she was too young to make that decision, and that he would not perform the hysterectomy in case she decided to have children later. Champ responded that she and her wife had already decided to adopt.

Champ said that the doctor’s exact words were, “I don’t want you to have regrets if circumstances change for you. Maybe you leave your partner, your sexual orientation changes, and you meet someone and he wants children.”

Champ was shocked and took to Twitter to express her dismay at what had happened.

“Can’t believe that today a gynecologist told me that a hysterectomy wouldn’t be considered as an option for my debilitating period pain on the off chance that I divorce my wife, my sexual orientation changes, I meet a man and decide I want children,” she wrote.

Her tweet went viral, prompting outrage across the Internet as many others shared similar stories.

“A (male) doctor once explained to my friend how she might want children sometime, so she could not get a hysterectomy,” one person tweeted in response, “and when she mentioned adoption as an option if that became the case, he told her that adoption just isn’t the same. My friend, *who is adopted*”

“Yep I was told this to,” wrote another. “I already had 3 kids and I was single and they said what if you meet someone who wants kids? I responded we can adopt but why does an imaginary man have more say over my body than I do?”

Champ also clarified on Twitter that the doctor did not provide any medical reason for denying the hysterectomy.

“He told me it isn’t an option because I’m too young, the pain I’m in is clouding my judgement and my life circumstances may change. No medical reason why it’s not an option,” she said.

She also addressed those who said they agreed with the doctor.

“I see a lot of comments agreeing that because a hysterectomy is irreversible, I’m too young to decide if I want one at the age of 27. Another irreversible decision is having children, but how many people would tell me I’m too young to have a child at 27?”

Champ hopes her story highlights the misogyny and anti-LGBTQ discrimination that remains rampant in the health care industry.

“I think it really boils down to the fact that women aren’t treated as if we are capable of making decisions over our own bodies,” she said. “In this particular circumstance, the problem is the idea that all women must want to have children.”

“In my case, it shows that misogyny is so deeply ingrained in women’s healthcare, that a man who doesn’t exist is more important to my doctor than me — the very real patient sitting in front of him in tears begging for help to end the pain.”

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