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.

Spermicides

Approximate effectiveness: not too good- the failure rate of spermicide alone is very high - estimates range from 5 to 59% at Epigee.org!

The American Pregnancy Association site states a failure rate when used properly of 8%, but when used by most people, spermicide has a failure rate around 26%

Little or no protection against most STDs. May be used with condoms to improve the rate of pregnancy prevention of the condom.

Some research questions the effectiveness of spermicide, saying it makes no difference to pregnancy rates compared to a condom without spermicide. it's your choice. Spermicides are inserted into the vagina to help kill sperm. They come in various forms and their effectiveness may not be the same in all the forms. Spermicides can be in the form of a jelly, foam, cream, tablets or suppositories. A suppository looks sort of like a large pill and it gets inserted into the vagina where it dissolves.

The different types are used in different ways and at different times so read the instructions very carefully. Then read them again! Spermicides kill the sperm that enters the vagina and some may present a barrier to the cervix. Spermicides don't last that long so a couple may have to apply more spermicide if they are going to have sexual intercourse within a certain time after the spermicide is first applied, and before each time they have sex, even if it is within the time listed in the manufacturer's instructions.

Spermicides can be messy and are not that effective at birth control, and in a few people can irritate the penis or vagina.

They are available at pharmacies and clinics and are fairly low priced. No prescription or parental consent is needed. Epigee.org states that a previously perceived slight improvement in STD infection rates with spermicide was not true. As well, spermicide may cause an allergic reaction in some people and urinary tract infections in some women. So while it used to be thought that spermicides might give a bit of protection against Gonorrhea, PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), and some vaginal infections, they should not be considered as STD protection at all. More recent research shows that, while that may be true in a laboratory, in real life, it seems like it does not. As well, the common spermicide nonoxyol-9 , or "N-9" can irritate, even strip the lining of the vagina or rectum, possibly making that person more susceptible to an STD. Contracept.org/spermicides (link no longer active) says N-9 can even lead to other STDs due to its damaging cervical cells.