World Population Awareness

Birth Control Choices

July 18, 2015

1997, United Nations Population Fund

"All couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information and means to do so." doclink

February 2000, Chicago Tribune

A century ago, women feared dying in childbirth and yet could do little to control conception. The Comstock laws clamped down on freedom of information by making it a crime to send "obscene" material through the mail, including birth control information and devices. In 1916, Margaret Sanger was arrested for distributing diaphragms. In the 10 days her Brooklyn clinic was open, she fitted 488 women with diaphragms, an indication of women's unmet need to control pregnancy. Legal abortion wasn't even on the agenda. doclink

A Brief History of Contraception

February 18, 2015, Atlantic Monthly   By: Jackie Lay

The use of contraceptives dates all the way back to 1850 B.C., when women in ancient Egypt used honey, acacia leaves, and lint to block sperm. This two-minute animation traces the history of contraception through the centuries, from sea sponges (500 B.C.), linen sheath condoms (1564), lemon cervical caps (1700), and the "rhythm method" (1920) to modern advancements such as vaginal rings, hormone injections, IUDs, and patches. doclink

Birth Control Choices

I Love My IUD

July 15, 2015, Women At the Center

doclink

Birth Control Methods

July 2014, Bedsider

Visit this interactive website to learn about the various forms of birth control. Which ones are the most effective? Which are hormone free? And other questions are answered. doclink

Forget the Pill, IUD is the New Queen of Birth Control

With an estimated 4 million unintentional pregnancies each year, gynecologists are urging their patients switch from oral contraceptives to an intrauterine device (IUD). Just three years after doctors cast it off as unsuitable, the IUD is reigning supreme.
May 30, 2014   By: Sarah Kunst

In the United States there 4 million live births each year, and half are estimated to be unplanned or unintended. Of the majority of unplanned births the largest majority come from women in their 20s.

With the questionable efficacy of condoms and the widespread misuse of birth control, an alternative has now been recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Intrauterine devices (IUD). With less than one pregnancy per 100 women in a year, its the most effective birth control method available on the market, yet only 10% of women using birth control are using this form of birth control.

It has been estimated that of the 2 million births in America in 2011 came unexpectedly. According to Dr. Tina Raine-Bennett of the Women's Health Research Institute at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, "20-24-year-olds have highest number of unintended pregnancies across all demographic groups while over one-third of unintended pregnancies end in abortion."

Despite current birth control methods, in 2012 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists got behind the IUD recommending it as the preferred birth control option for all women, even those who haven't yet given birth. Although there are risks, that can be said for any drug or implant. Smaller issues that result from IUDs mirror those of other contraceptives, such as menstrual cramps, spotting, or infection. But more dangerous issues can, in rare cases, arise. One in about 1000 users may experience perforation (the IUD puncturing the uterus wall), while others may experience expulsion (the IUD falling out completely).

Overall there is hope for the device, and studies show women are generally more satisfied with IUDs compared to the pill. doclink

Karen Gaia says: this is really where we ought to be focusing. IUDs are more expensive and many women don't know enough about them. Let's start helping projects that focus on IUDs, making them affordable, and making sure contraceptive counselling includes them.

U.S.: The Rise of the IUD

December 11, 2014, Think Progress   By: Tara Culp-ressler

Long acting reversible methods of birth control (LARCs) is a category of highly effective contraceptives that includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants. These methods are chosen by U.S. women more and more, according to the CDC, despite political controversy stoked by religious conservatives, who assert they're comparable to abortion.

The birth control pill has been the most common contraception for many years. Long-acting birth control, meanwhile, has historically been one of the least popular methods even though it's actually the most effective reversible option.

From 2006 to 2013, the rate of women choosing IUDs and implants nearly doubled -- jumping from 3.8% to 7.2%.

In the past, doctors avoided prescribing IUDs to young women who hadn't yet given birth, assuming that they would be too hard to insert or that younger patients wouldn't want to stick with the method. And some medical professionals have been reluctant to give long-term contraceptives to unmarried women, reflecting somewhat of a discomfort with female sexuality outside of serious relationships.

Recent research in the field has confirmed that IUDs are safe for younger women, and that, when presented with all the options, teenage girls are 16 times more likely to choose an IUD than any other method. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of Pediatrics now encourage doctors to give IUDs to their teenage patients.

Obamacare's birth control benefit eliminates out-of-pocket costs for FDA-approved contraception, so women no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars upfront to insert an IUD.

Right-wing religious groups claim that IUDs are a form of abortion, even though there's no scientific evidence to back that up. doclink

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Birth Control Choices

  • SexHealth.com provides online answers to reproductive health questions.
  • Condom HallEverything you wanted to know about condoms, STDs/HIV/AIDS, and where to get condoms.
  • Ann Rose's Ultimate Birth Control Links - A pleasant way to check out various methods of birth control
  • Alan Guttmacher Institute - Reproductive Health and Research
  • About different methods of birth control, including 'natural' - from Family Health International
  • doclink

    A Guide to Contraception

    October 20, 2011, Datehookup.com

    ... doclink

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    Birth Control Choices

    Male Birth Control Without Condoms by 2017

    September 9, 2014, International Business Times (UK)   By: Maria Khan

    Vasalgel is a new non-hormonal male contraceptive which is similar to a no-scalpel vasectomy, will be released between 2016-2017, according to its maker, the Parsemus Foundation.

    "We'll have to charge enough to make the company sustainable, but for sure it won't be $800 like long-acting contraceptives (IUDs) for women in the US. A contraceptive shouldn't cost more than a flat-screen TV!"

    While Vasalgel is similar to vasectomy, it has the significant advantage of being reversible.

    A gel is injected into the vas deferens (the tube the sperm swim through), rather than cutting the vas (as is done in vasectomy). If a man wishes to restore flow of sperm, whether after months or years, the polymer is flushed out of the vas with another injection," stated the Parsemus Foundation.

    With a recent grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, it is hoped that clinical trials with humans will begin by early 2015. doclink

    The Vasectomist

    June 17, 2013, Vasectomist website

    The Vasectomist tells the story of Dr. Doug Stein, one of the world's leading providers of vasectomies as he travels throughout Florida and the world promoting men's role in family planning. While our film is just finished, our campaign to build awareness about the underlying issues that motivated the project is only just beginning.

    On October 18, 2013, we are launching WORLD VASECTOMY DAY to inspire a global conversation. We will bring together 100 vasectomists and 1,000 men in 25 countries to dedicate their vasectomies to the wellbeing of Mother Earth. Dr Doug Stein will lead our 'vasectomy-athon' from Adelaide at the Royal Institution of Australia. Surrounding Doug as he performs vasectomies will be leading experts on population, including author Professor Paul Ehrlich, as well as leaders from varying fields, both those in favor of vasectomies as a contraceptive solution and those opposed. The entire event will be live-streamed as our film has its world premiere. In addition, the film will be screened around the world on World Vasectomy Day by our international broadcasting partners SBS (Australia), CBC (Canada), VPRO (The Netherlands) and DR (Denmark).

    In summary, we are proposing a global round table conversation on the most important topic of our time and we'd like your support.

    Jonathan Stack jonathan@thevasectomist.net

    Watch episode 1 of The Vasectomy Series http://thevasectomist.net http://facebook.com/thevasectomist doclink

    Karen Gaia says: Vasectomies are an important part of family planning and of voluntary male participation in particular, but - so far - not as popular or as effective in reducing overall fertility as the current non-permanent methods, most of which are used by females. India's most common method of birth control - for many years - has been sterilization. However, Indian women (and likely men) are reluctant to get sterilized until after a son is born, and birth spacing is not accomplished with sterilization. If a woman can space her children, she is more likely to have fewer children because spaced children are healthier and more satisfying to raise.

    Finally, a Pill for Men 'with No Side-effects' Which Could Be on the Shelves in a Few Years

    June 6, 2011, Daily Mail / Mail Online

    Scientists have developed a drug which temporarily stops sperm production without causing any side effects or long-term harm to male fertility. It will be a male version of the contraceptive Pill.

    Until now there has been limited success comimg up with a male Pill, although attempts have been made for many years. Most of the drugs recently developed involve an injection, and many contain steroids which have damaging side-effects including heart disease and impotence.

    It has only been tested on mice, long-term studies on humans will be done within a few years.

    The pill impairs the male body's ability to use vitamin A, which is vital for the production of sperm. The drug's developers say it will not affect sight. They also claim a man would start producing sperm again almost as soon as he stopped taking the pill.

    The pill probably would be taken once a day, but scientists are working on a version that would only need to be taken once a week.

    This pill does not affect levels of the sex hormone testosterone, which was a problem with earlier male contraception, especially since altering testosterone levels has been linked to changes in cholesterol levels, which can raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It can also affect a man's sex drive and lead to weight gain.

    Experts believe that a male version of the Pill would give couples more choice and place more responsibility on the man rather than the woman. doclink

    Radical New Birth Control for Men 100% Effective

    June 1, 2011, Technorati

    Men have had only two options when it comes to birth control, condoms or vasectomy, compared to women's many choices: pills, shots, patches, lubes, and tying their tubes.

    However, now scientists in India have developed an injection for men called RISUG, or "reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance" that has so far proven to be 100% effective. It lasts 10 years and can be reversed with another injection with no side effects.

    Having their partner assume the responsibility for birth control will help some women who suffer side effects of birth control: weight gain and loss, hormone imbalances, and frail bones, and others who have low fertility levels to start with, which is emotionally and physiologically draining if combined with a contraceptive that also lowers fertility.

    Getting the injection is the difficult part, involving two needle sticks into the scrotum, the procedure taking about 15 minutes or so. A non toxic, positively charged polymer is injected into the tube that the sperm pass through on their way from the testicles. The polymer shocks (kills) the sperm, which have a negative charge.

    Because the injection last 10 years, drug companies won't be making money from RISUG.

    India is about to go into Stage III trials with RISUG, practically the last step before it can be used by anyone in India. Thanks to Bill Gates and a 100k donation from the Gates Foundation, we might get RISUG approved here in the US. The company in charge of trying to bring it here is Parsemus, and they are trying to see if RISUG can work on women, too. vp

    The author suggests giving RISUG to adolescents: there would be less abortions, and less accidental pregnancies. doclink

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    Birth Control Choices

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    Birth Control Choices

    India: Achieving Family Planning Goals with 'Cycle Beads'

    September 20, 2005, Press Trust of India

    What the 'nasbandi' of the 70's and the family planning drives could not achieve, doctors are trying to accomplish through a simple colour-coded set of beads. Called the Standard Days Method (SDM), it uses colour beads to identify fertile and non-fertile days and plan spacing between pregnancies. The method has been developed by American researchers and is being used in nearly 25 countries. In a country like India, where 78% of pregnancies are unplanned and nearly 25% unwanted, it can serve as an inexpensive, and 95% per cent effective method of preventing pregnancy. The Indian government has included it in the Reproductive Child Health programme for expanding contraceptive choices and this simple, method should be made widely accessible. doclink

    Delay 'Sexual Debut' - Study: Teen Abstinence; 'Did Not Reduce Plans to Use Condoms'

    August 15, 2006, CanWest News Service

    Abstinence-only programs can reduce sexual activity among teens and delay their "sexual debut." A study of 662 African-American Grade 6 and 7 students from found that those taught abstinence-only were less likely to have had sexual intercourse 24 months later. Abstinence programs delay sexual debut and make teens more likely to use condoms when they do start having sex. It did not reduce intentions to use condoms, reduce beliefs about the efficacy of condoms, or decrease consistent condom use. The youngsters in the study ranged from 10 to 15; half were girls; 23% said they had sexual intercourse at least once before the study began.

    The study compared abstinence-only with those put through a "safer sex" intervention that emphasized frequent condom use but makes no mention of abstinence.

    Planned Parenthood has called the approach a challenge to the nation's sexual health. The Bush administration has promoted abstinence as prevention, a policy critics say ends up discouraging condom use.

    But there is no logical reason that an abstinence intervention cannot be effective.

    The abstinence intervention in this study promoted abstinence from vaginal, anal and oral sex until a youth would be able to handle the consequences of a sexual relationship. doclink

    Karen Gaia says: What did it prove? Apparently the study failed to compare abstinence-only with programs that advised abstinence but taught safe sex just in case teens were already sexually active.

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    Birth Control Choices

    India: Birth Control Goes Herbal

    September 28, 2003, London Sunday Telegraph

    Indian scientists are developing the first effective and safe herbal contraceptive pill from a 2,500-year-old medical text. The ingredients are false pepper (embelia ribes) and long pepper (piper longum) mixed with borax. It is to undergo trials on humans, and could be on the market in two to three years. In the ancient world, Europeans used herbal contraceptives. One, a plant, silphium, was over-harvested and became extinct. In its modern form, the herbal contraceptive (pippalyadi yoga) would be taken as a daily pill for three weeks each month to inhibit ovulation. Dozens of plants are mentioned in India's ancient medical texts as preventing pregnancy, including Chinese hibiscus (hibiscus rosa sinensis), a small tree native to southern India. Developing an effective and safe herbal female contraceptive would be a coup for India. With a population in excess of one billion, only 2% of females use the modern contraceptive pill. No natural birth-control products have met the standards in clinical trials and herbal products can also have harmful side-effects. Chinese scientists developed a male contraceptive pill based on the seed of the cotton plant, trials showed it lowered men's sperm but also diminished libido. doclink

    Canada: Museum Puts Contraception on Display

    December 5, 2004, The Plain Dealer

    The History of Contraception Museum is the latest addition to the Dittrick Medical History Center at Case Western Reserve University. In ancient Egypt, crocodile dung was employed as a suppository before intercourse. Beaver-testicle tea was brewed by Canadian women. The collection includes some 350 intrauterine devices. The items were largely donated by medical professionals and family planning services. Dittrick is a museum and library dedicated to medical history. James Edmonson, Dittrick's chief curator, said the History of Contraception Museum "embodies social history, ethical issues, medical concerns and womens' issues. The collection also has 150 reference books. The collection shows that people have been imagining means of conception for more than 2,000 years. doclink

    Mule's Earwax Just Part of New Case Collection; History of Contraception Has More Than 650 Items

    December 7, 2004, Plain Dealer

    The History of Contraception Museum, at Case Western Reserve University presents the only collection of its kind in the world, representing the practices and products to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Exhibits go back to ancient Egypt where crocodile dung was employed as a suppository prior to intercourse, and the first-ever prescriptions for a contraceptive device (a medicated tampon). Folklore preventatives include beaver-testicle tea, weasel testicles tied to a woman's thigh, and elephant dung. There are displays of intrauterine devices and cervical caps. Condoms stretch from artistic to desperate (candy bar wrappers), not far from the corked, tubed and rubber-balled douches. The items were largely donated by medical professionals and family-planning services, or are re-creations of devices such as the amulet of mule's earwax. The Museum embodies social history, ethical issues, medical concerns and women's issues. People have been trying to devise ways to prevent conception for more than 2,000 years and transcends religions and cultures. doclink

    India: Birth Control Goes Herbal

    September 28, 2003, London Sunday Telegraph

    Indian scientists are developing the first effective and safe herbal contraceptive pill from a 2,500-year-old medical text. The ingredients are false pepper (embelia ribes) and long pepper (piper longum) mixed with borax. It is to undergo trials on humans, and could be on the market in two to three years. In the ancient world, Europeans used herbal contraceptives. One, a plant, silphium, was over-harvested and became extinct. In its modern form, the herbal contraceptive (pippalyadi yoga) would be taken as a daily pill for three weeks each month to inhibit ovulation. Dozens of plants are mentioned in India's ancient medical texts as preventing pregnancy, including Chinese hibiscus (hibiscus rosa sinensis), a small tree native to southern India. Developing an effective and safe herbal female contraceptive would be a coup for India. With a population in excess of one billion, only 2% of females use the modern contraceptive pill. No natural birth-control products have met the standards in clinical trials and herbal products can also have harmful side-effects. Chinese scientists developed a male contraceptive pill based on the seed of the cotton plant, trials showed it lowered men's sperm but also diminished libido. doclink

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    Birth Control Choices

    Fertility and Economic Growth in Bangladesh

    February 2013, Population Reference Bureau blog

    While the average family in Bangladesh today has about four children fewer than their parents' generation, that family has about six times the purchasing power. This PRB ENGAGE Mini-Presentation examines how fertility and income have changed in Bangladesh, and highlights the role that family planning can play in helping families achieve higher levels of education and in accumulating more wealth.

    doclink

    Ireland: Thrills and pills: exploding the myths about contraception for over-40s

    February 19, 2013, Irish Times   By: Ella Pickover

    Older and wiser you may be, but you can still get caught out by an unexpected pregnancy Getting pregnant young might have seemed like the worst thing that could happen, but an unexpected pregnancy when older fills many with equal dread. Whether you've decided your family is complete or you don't want children at all, what is the best contraceptive for you as you age? One myth is that it's unhealthy for women over 40 to remain on the pill, says ... doclink

    U.S.: How to Find Out If and When Your Health Plan Will Begin Covering Women's Preventive Services with No Co-Pay

    August 30, 2012, Center for Reproductive Rights

    If your plan is not grandfathered*, your health plan should be providing coverage for women's preventive services with no cost-sharing in the next plan year. Call your insurance plan to find out when you'll begin receiving coverage for women's preventive services without cost sharing and how these services will be covered.

    We have provided a phone script for you to use when talking to your insurance plan. (Be aware that if your next plan year is more than 30 days away, your plan may not know the details of the new coverage. You may need to call them back closer to the first day of the new plan year.)

    http for the complete set of these very helpful instructions. doclink

    Who Guidance Confirms Safety of Hormonal Contraception for Women at Risk of HIV Or Living with HIV

    February 17, 2012, EngenderHealth News Blog

    A recent meeting of multidisciplinary experts, organized by WHO in Geneva, assessed available evidence on the use of hormonal contraceptives and HIV and concluded that women, including those at risk of or living with HIV, can safely continue to use hormonal contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.

    EngenderHealth, with 70 years of experience in ensuring clients' rights and improving access to quality family planning and reproductive health services, supports the WHO guidance and reccommends to its staff that no restrictions be placed on the use of hormonal contraceptives for women at risk of HIV or living with HIV. There is insufficient evidence of an association between hormonal contraceptive use and HIV risk to warrant any change in this guidance, but they strongly advise women at high risk of HIV who are using progestogen-only injectables to use condoms and other HIV preventive measures. Furthermore, WHO stresses the need for women and couples to have access to a wide range of contraceptive methods and for further research on the relationship between hormonal contraception and HIV to be undertaken.

    Women living in places hit hardest by HIV and AIDS-they are at higher risk of contracting HIV and of dying from a pregnancy-related condition.

    Because the possibility of a link between hormonal contraceptives and HIV was widely covered in the media worldwide, women must be assured that their method of choice does not put them at undue risk of HIV-and that not using contraception poses the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, which carries another set of potential dangers. Access to hormonal contraceptives must continue to preserve women's health and well-being.

    The ability for individuals to make informed choices and voluntary decisions, not only about family planning, but about all aspects of sexual and reproductive health, is a fundamental principle rooted in human rights and underpinning quality care. It means that a wide range of contraceptive methods is available and accessible-including long-acting and permanent options-and that women and couples are counseled about the known risks and benefits of each method.

    Engaging men on the importance of sharing responsibilities for family planning and reproductive health-including encouraging them to use condoms for dual protection and to access health care services, including getting tested for HIV-is essential for preventing HIV infection and maintaining strong reproductive health.

    Because some 50-85% of women living with HIV do not want to become pregnant, access to voluntary, affordable, and appropriate contraceptive information and services can help women avoid unintended pregnancies and associated health risks, including the risk of vertical transmission.

    Women must have a wide choice of family planning methods - when a woman's method of choice is unavailable, she is more likely to forgo contraception altogether. Many modern methods of contraception, including long-acting and permanent methods (LA/PMs), such as the intrauterine device (IUD), are vastly underutilized in Africa, even though women and couples who have decided to space and/or limit their families could benefit greatly from using them. doclink

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