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Female permanent contraception was legalized in 2001 in a context of the fight against unwanted pregnancies. This work explores general practitioners' practices and their representations towards it. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were then conducted.
Female sterilization is considered as contraception by interviewed doctors but used only as a last resort. Because of its irreversibility, it is only reserved for women aged over 40 years or for those who have medical contraindication to pregnancy. When these conditions are not met, the doctors seem to be torn between a hierarchical relation, where they are no longer prescribers, and a respectful attitude of French sociocultural pro-birth values.
Women's access to contraception could be better adapted by informing the general public, while training doctors to a new role in doctor-patient relationship, and by developing cooperation between healthcare professionals.