I Want My IUD Out, but No One Will Do It

Fran Hoepfner writes of doctors' surprising reluctance to remove birth control device
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2022 4:25 PM CST
I Want My IUD Out, but No One Will Do It
Stock photo of an IUD.   (Getty Images/Liudmila Chernetska)

When Fran Hoepfner had an intrauterine device, or IUD, inserted a few years back, she didn't do so to prevent pregnancy. Rather, she hoped it would mitigate her "awful" menstrual cycles, one of the side perks many find when using this form of birth control. The procedure wasn't pleasant—"some of the worst pain I have experienced in my whole life," Hoepfner writes in her piece for Gawker. Soon after, unpleasant symptoms "inexplicably" emerged: abdominal pain, ongoing bleeding and spotting, and sudden infections that came on seemingly for no reason. After a move to another state and visits to a couple of new gynecologists, another disturbing revelation was made: The strings to Hoepfner's IUD, which are used to help remove the device when it's time to do so, had vanished.

"Whoever did this to you ought to be shot in the street," one of those doctors told Hoepfner when she mentioned her original OB-GYN may have cut the strings too short when she inserted it. Hoepfner decided she wanted the IUD out, but what followed was a surprising reluctance from a slew of doctors to help her. One doctor said it seemed like more trouble than it was worth to remove it, even though Hoepfner suspected it was tied to her mysterious ailments. Another told Hoepfner to "ride it out," as taking it out could be as painful as it was putting it in. One male OB-GYN outright refused. "That doctors could just say no to removing my IUD had never crossed my mind as a remote possibility," she writes. She's currently left with her IUD in place and with one big question: "Does the right to choose not also include choosing to go off birth control?" (Hoepfner's quest in its entirety here.)

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