Sterile Before 30: Here’s What Dating Is Like

Sterile Before 30: Here’s What Dating Is Like ©iStock/AlenaPaulus

At the age of 27, I had a tubal ligation and also took out a small part of my uterus. This means that I’m not like most other women my age: I’ve been surgically sterilized and won’t be able to have any more children. Since I gave my daughter up for adoption, that also means that I live a childfree lifestyle. I’m okay with this and actually enjoy the freedom it offers me, but what most people don’t realize is that being sterile at such a “young” age is actually pretty difficult when you’re trying to date. Here’s how it’s affected my dating life:

  1. My dating pool has shrunk by multiple orders of magnitude. It’s the sad truth. Most men really want kids. I’ve been dumped because I couldn’t give birth. To be honest, I’m not that upset about it. If anything, it helped me keep away from men who would most likely have tried to sabotage my birth control or tried to talk me into having kids that I wouldn’t have wanted.
  2. There is a serious, palpable stigma I face when I tell people I’m sterile. When people hear that I don’t want to have kids in the future or that I’m 100% okay with the operation I had, they can seriously flip out. Respect for me often goes out the window, regardless of how tactfully I explain myself. I’ve been called a monster, a child hater and have been told that I “clearly don’t know what I want.”
  3. That disrespect can lead to ugly fights. One guy wouldn’t stop telling me how wrong I was for not wanting kids until I threw a drink in his face and began shouting at him. Thankfully, the bartender didn’t fault me for that — the jerk got kicked out instead.
  4. I’ve had people not take me seriously when I tell them I’m sterile. Granted, I was diagnosed sterile at 14 but still got pregnant at 26, so I can’t really blame them. However, it’s a little bit different when your equipment has been surgically altered and you have insurance paperwork to prove it.
  5. I’ve caught some guys trying to sabotage my birth control when I told them I was childfree. It was every bit as horrifying as you’d think it was. That being said, the look on their faces when I told them about the tubal was priceless.
  6. Some guys actually look down at me for it. Good to know that my value is based on my reproductive system. This is actually a primary reason I’ve lost so much interest in dating.
  7. Oh, and the guy’s parents? Another hassle. Some guys’ parents really go berserk over the thought that they won’t get grandbabies. This means that a lot of them will try to put a wedge between me and whoever I’m dating in hopes that my significant other will choose more fertile grounds.
  8. That being said, I don’t envy a lot of my friends who have kids. In fact,  many of them flat-out tell me that I’m lucky or smart that I’ve chose this path. Though I do get to hang out with my daughter, I’m still relieved that I don’t have to deal with dirty diapers, childcare costs or tantrums every day. It seems to take a major toll on my parent friends.
  9. I really wonder if there’s someone out there who would marry me, though. It can get lonely, you know? I don’t want to have to choose between having kids I don’t want and having to stay single. It often feels like I’d have to.
  10. Overall, it’s made me think less of people in general. When you realize how much value and pressure people put on women to reproduce, it’s really hard to actually take anyone seriously when they say they appreciate you as a person. We’re so much more than just biology, and I often wonder if others actually realize that.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.