Sterilization is a popular contraceptive method throughout the world. In Brazil steriliza­tion is a popular choice in midlife, with over 42% of women undergoing surgical steril­ization (de Freitas, 2004). Sterilization procedures are also common in Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, and Cuba (Francoeur & Noonan, 2004). A 1999 govern­mental ruling in Costa Rica has led to a waiting list for female sterilization. This ruling made female sterilization available on demand in Costa Rica, without doctor or spousal consent (Arroba, 2004). In Sweden, both male and female sterilization are free upon re­quest to people over the age of 25 (Trost & Bergstrom-Walan, 2004). Typically, female sterilization is more prevalent in the majority of countries. However, this isn’t true in China, where male sterilization techniques, including a new reversible sterilization surgery, are more popular (Ruan & Lau, 2004).

In countries where family planning clinics are sparse, many women travel long dis­tances to be sterilized. As we have discussed, access to and promotion of a certain method also contribute to its popularity. In many countries, sterilization is the only method of nonnatural contraception available.