Venezuela's food shortages, inflation and crumbling medical sector have become such a source of anguish that a growing number of young women are reluctantly opting for sterilisations rather than face the hardship of pregnancy and child-rearing.
Traditional contraceptives like condoms or birth control pills have virtually vanished from store shelves, pushing women towards the hard-to-reverse surgery.
Venezuela is a largely Roman Catholic country where Church doctrine rejects all forms of contraception and abortion is banned unless a woman's life is at risk. The Archbishop of Merida, Baltazar Porras, told Reuters an increase in sterilisations would be a "barbarity."
But Venezuela's crisis has triggered almost daily riots for food and slammed a shrinking middle class as well as the poor who were once a bastion of support for late leftist leader Hugo Chavez's self-styled "beautiful revolution."
Pregnant women are particularly affected as they struggle to find adequate food and supplements, give birth in crowded and under-equipped hospitals, and have to spend hours in lines for scarce diapers, baby food and medicines.
The government ministries for health, women and information did not respond to requests for comment.