Birth Control

Birth Control is your choice because you and often, your partner, will have to live with the consequences of a pregnancy, a birth, or, sometimes, an abortion or still born baby. Not every instance of sex results in pregnancy but many might, so, throughout human history, we have been trying to keep that pleasure of sex and minimize the sometime consequences of sexual intercourse.

These attempts have had many versions. Crocodile or elephant dung. Chastity belts. Drinking poisonous compounds; as recently as WW2, some women wanted to work with lead in the hopes that it would make them infertile. That didn't work but lead can result in multiple organ failure as a start. Condoms? Some form of those have been around as far back as 3000 B.C.- things like goat or fish bladders, sheep intestines, linen have been documented. How about a little magic, using mule's earwax and weasel testicle? Want more taste of bizarre attempts to control human reproduction on a personal level? These examples and more  were found at WebMd.

Fortunately we now know more about human reproduction and what is likely to work as "contraception", (against conception). Contraception today consists of many hormonal treatments to fool a female body into not releasing an egg, as well as "barrier methods" like the popular and easy to find condom, that attempt to place a barrier between sperm and an egg. Almost none of these is 100% effective and some do nothing or little to prevent transmitting certain infections in, in the case of pubic lice, infestations. But having sex, how much to have and what you are OK with doing must be your personal choice. And if you have a partner for it, they must be OK with it all too. So, choice of birth control is also personal and should be OK with partners.

Information in this section is very general; often you will be best off to ask a medical person, especially if you are female; age, diet, medical conditions may all have an effect on your menstrual cycle, affecting fertility.

Click here or on the Birth Control tab.

NOT recommended Birth Control methods

Information here is general in nature. Over time information may get changed, contradicted or added to. You should always consult a medical practitioner or pharmacist for up to date and comprehensive information.

 Sterilization(Tubal Ligation in females, or Vasectomy in males) Effectiveness in preventing pregnancy: Virtually 100% No protection against STDs

When a woman has her "tubes tied" (ligation), both Fallopian Tubes are cut or burned so eggs cannot pass through them to be fertilised by a sperm cell. This is done under full anaesthesia.

When a man has a vasectomy, the tube called the Vas Deferens is cut or burned so sperm cannot travel through the epididymis to reach the urethra and then to get out of the male's body. This can be done under local (affecting only the genital area), or full anaesthesia (you are out cold, man!). Males may have some sperm left in the system so to speak, for a few weeks so a backup method of birth control should also be used for at least two months. Note that the sperm are prevented from leaving the body but the semen, the whitish fluid that usually carries the sperm cells, still leaves the penis when the male ejaculates.

Neither of these methods would normally be considered for young people as they are not usually considered to be reversible. So if you still think that this may be a reasonable birth control method for you, you should talk to your doctor. While every once in a while you may hear about some vasectomy or tubal ligation not being effective - a woman gets pregnant - it is extremely rare and likely because the doctor didn't do the job right or the male had sex before all the sperm were cleared out of his system. Also note that there is absolutely no protection against STDs if sterilization is the only method used.

It may be perfect for people in long term, monogamous sexual relationships who do not want children. But if you don't know your partner that well or can't 100% trust your partner, use a condom as well to reduce the chances of a disease being passed on and improve the odds for preventing pregnancy. 

The Pull-out Method Effectiveness in preventing pregnancy: Not reliable at all. No protection against STDs

The "pull-out method" is when the male pulls his penis out of the woman's vagina before he ejaculates ("comes" or "cums"). If he is not using a condom or the couple are not using some other birth control method, this is a very risky way to try to prevent pregnancy. It is useless for preventing STDs.

Some people think that if the male doesn't ejaculate into the vagina, then there are no sperm to make the woman pregnant. It's not that simple. The male will discharge some pre-lubricating fluid ("pre-cum") from his penis which likely contains some sperm cells. Obviously not as many as when he ejaculates fully, but it only takes one sperm cell to reach the egg to create a pregnancy. He will usually not be able to feel, or sense when this fluid comes out. There's another problem with this approach; even though the guy might think he can control when he ejaculates, or at least know when it's about to happen, he will often lose all control immediately before ejaculation and very often end up ejaculating into the woman anyway. Oops. Don't think of "pulling out" as a birth control method. It isn't. ·

The Rhythm Method Effectiveness in preventing pregnancy: Not reliable at all. Failure rate about 25%

No protection against STDs

The Rhythm Method is based on the fact that there are certain days during a woman's menstrual cycle that an egg (or "ovum") is likely to be present and some days it isn't likely to be around. There are three ways to try to figure out when these times are. Couples can use a calendar, a thermometer or a special kit that tests the thickness of the mucous lining of the cervix. The theory around the calendar method is that an egg/ovum is available to be fertilized for around 6 to 9 days after the egg is released by an ovary; the release is called ovulation. This is particularly unreliable in teenaged girls because they often have irregular menstrual cycles.

The temperature method relies on measuring body temperature differences of about .4 degrees Fahrenheit. That's "point-four" degrees. It's complicated and must be taken the same way each day and carefully plotted. Here is a more detailed explanation of how it works. A kit is generally used by couples who are trying to create a pregnancy; the other two methods may also be used to improve the odds of having a pregnancy. These methods aren't all that reliable in either preventing or starting a pregnancy. The failure rate is approximately 25% in couples who use it as their birth control method for a year. Of course, if you fall in that 25%, you are 100% pregnant. And naturally, the longer you use it, the higher the chance it will eventually fail.

Here's a funny animation on YouTube about the process of getting pregnant- it's not as simple as you may have thought. ·

 

Douching Effectiveness in preventing pregnancy: Not reliable at all.

No protection against STD

Douching as a method of birth control is when a female uses a plastic douche bottle or a bag to squirt a cleansing fluid into her vagina, hoping to flush any semen and sperm out, after sexual intercourse. Douching (from the French word for "shower") is simply a method to clean the vagina is controversial; some people believe it helps clean away debris from the uterus such as dead skin and blood cells and that it can restore a balanced PH level (acidic versus alkaline levels) in the vagina. However most experts agree that it can cause more problems than it might fix, including introducing infections, possibly even PID, into the vagina, and knocking a perfectly normal PH balance out of whack. A "yeast infection" or Vaginosis/Vaginitis may result. As a vaginal cleaning method, it doesn't seem to have much going for it. As a birth control method, it's useless because within seconds of a guy ejaculating, semen and sperm can be in the cervix where douching is not going to wash them out.