Birth control

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Birth control is one of the most important tools of our daily life without which we can find ourselves in a lot of trouble. We have all heard various stories of unwanted adolescent pregnancies. These are girls in different age groups who drop out of school to take care of babies they did not really want, faced with the reality of having to work to support their sudden new families. On the other side there are the guys who get married sooner than they are ready and possibly to wives they would not have in a different situation married. So frequently these premature unions end in divorce. Most heartbreaking of all are these children who are raised knowing they were not wanted from the beginning, knowing they were an additional load to their parents than bliss even before they were brought into this world. Without a doubt, as a society, we must get a hold of the problem of teenage pregnancy, and the clear solution is to persuade the teenagers to be responsible for their actions and put into practice birth control. However we face so many choices in making a decision on which type of birth control to use.

Birth control is a use of various actions, procedures, sexual practices, or medications in order to intentionally avoid or decrease the possibility of pregnancy or childbirth. There are three core routes to preventing or putting an end to a pregnancy. One of those routes is the avoidance of fertilization of the female reproductive cell by sperm cells which is also called contraception. The second core route is the prevention of implantation of the blastocyst or the embryonic stage which is also called contragestion. And the third and final core rout is the chemical or surgical stimulation of abortion of the developing embryo or at a later stage, a fetus. In general usage, the word contraception is frequently used for both contraception and contragestion.

In all probability the oldest techniques of contraception apart from avoiding vaginal intercourse are coitus interruptus or withdrawal before ejaculation, lactational, several barrier methods, and herbal methods. In Russia, to promote equivalence amongst men and women birth control was swiftly made accessible to anyone who was in need. Aleksander Kollontai was the commissar for public wellbeing through this time. He encouraged birth control education for the young population and for adults. In France women worked relentlessly for reproductive rights and they assisted in putting an end to the counties sanction towards birth control in 1965. Lastly in 1970, in Catholic Italy, feminists were able to win the right to obtain access to birth control and the needed information on protection.

English author Daniel Defoe wrote an essay by the name of “Conjugal Lewdness”. The complete initial name of this 1727 essay was "Conjugal Lewdness or, Matrimonial Whoredom", although he was soon after asked to give it another name for the reason of appropriateness. The new name of this essay became "A Treatise Concerning the Use and Abuse of the Marriage Bed". The essay dealt mostly with contraception, comparing it precisely with infanticide or the killing of an infant.

Defoe was able to accomplish this through anecdotes, such as a dialogue between two women where the sensible women chides the other for inquiring about "recipes" that may be able to avert a pregnancy. In the essay, Defoe additionally referred to contraception as "the diabolical practice of attempting to prevent childbearing by physical preparations."

A of birth control by the name of coitus interruptus, also known as pulling out of the penis from the vagina before ejaculation, most likely precedes any other method of birth control. This technique is not a remarkably dependable technique of contraception, as a very small amount of men have the strength of mind to appropriately abide by this method during every act of sexual intercourse. While it is generally assumed that pre-ejaculate fluid has the ability to cause pregnancy, new modern research has demonstrated that pre-ejaculate fluid does not contain feasible sperm.

There are historic accounts of Egyptian women utilizing a pessary or a plastic devise, which is a vaginal suppository, made of an assortment of acidic materials in addition to being lubricated with honey or in some cases oil, which could have been fairly successful at killing sperm. Nevertheless, the sperm cell wasn’t discovered before Anton van Leeuwenhoek made the invention of the microscope in the 17th century, meaning that the various methods used previous to that time would not be able to know of the particulars of conception. It was believed that Asian women utilized oiled paper for a cervical cap, and Europeans used beeswax for that same purpose. The condom came into being sometime in the 17th century, originally prepared out of animal intestines. This was not exceptionally liked, nor it was as successful as modern day latex condoms, but was used both as a method of contraception and in the hopes of not contracting syphilis, which was extremely feared as it was a horrible disease prior to the invention of antibiotic drugs.

A variety of devises that cause abortions have been used all the way through human history in attempts to cease unwanted pregnancies. Some of those devises were successful, some devises were not. Those devises that were largely effective had major side effects. One abortion causing devise that was believed to have minimal side effects was silphium. This devise was a plant and its viable product was resin. It became extinct around the 1st century. The intakes of particular poisons by a female can interrupt the reproductive system. Women drank solutions which contained mercury, arsenic, and other toxic substances particularly for this function. The Greek gynecologist Soranus in the 2nd century recommended that women drink water that the blacksmiths had used to chill metal. The herbs tansy which is a plant with yellow flowers and pennyroyal which is a mint plant from Europe and Asia are famous in myths as abortive agents, but these can also poison the woman. Levels of the working chemicals in these herbs that will encourage a miscarriage are high enough to dangerously harm the liver, kidneys, and other major organs. Then again, in those particular times where danger of maternal death from postpartum complications was elevated, the different risks and various side effects of toxic medicines seemed less burdensome. Some herbalists claimed that black cohosh tea was also successful in particular cases as an abortifacient.

The reality that the different successful ways of birth control were known of in the early world harshly contrasts with an apparent lack of knowledge of such methods in large segments of the population in the early contemporary Christian Europe. The unawareness continued well into the 20th century additionally being paralleled by very high birth rates in European countries throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the historians have accredited this to a series of threatening measures enacted by the rising modern state, in an attempt to repopulate Europe after the population disaster of the Black Death, beginning in 1348.

Physical methods of birth control can work in a variety of different ways. One of those ways was to physically put a stop to the sperm from flowing into the female reproductive tract. Another way was to hormonally prevent ovulation from occurring. Another method was to make the female’s reproductive tract unreceptive to sperm or surgically changing the male or female reproductive region to encourage infertility. Several methods utilized additional mechanisms. These physical methods varied in ease, convenience and efficiency.

Barrier methods put a physical obstruction to the passage of sperm inside the female reproductive tract. One of the most accepted barrier methods is the traditional male condom. The male condom is a latex or a polyurethane sheath that is positioned over the penis. The condom is additionally available in a female form, which is made out of polyurethane. The female condom contains a bendable ring at each end. One ring secures in the back of the pubic bone to it in place whilst the other ring remains on the exterior of the vagina. Cervical barriers remain enclosed fully inside the vagina. The contraceptive sponge has a mechanism that holds it in place on the cervix. The smallest cervical barrier is the cervical cap. Depending on the kind of cap it stays in place by suctioning itself to the cervix or t the walls of the vagina. The diaphragm fits into a place behind the female’s pubic bone and has a solid but elastic ring, which allows it to press against the vaginal walls. Spermicide can be placed in the vagina prior to sex. Spermicide creates a chemical barrier. It can be used by itself, or in combination with a physical barrier.

Oral hormonal contraception was invented by Carl Djerassi together with Luis E. Miramontes from Mexico and George Rosenkranz from Hungary in 1951. “The mixture of norethindrone, a progestin-analogue became a part of the first successful oral contraceptive, the combined oral contraceptive pill”. (Weschler, 2002) Combined oral contraceptive pills became known informally as the birth-control pills, or just the Pill. There is a assortment of delivery methods for hormonal contraception. Types of synthetic estrogens and progestin’s combinations commonly utilized consist of the combination of the oral contraceptive pill, Patch, and a vaginal ring which is also known as the Nuvaring. Other methods of birth control contain only a progestin. These methods include the progesterone only pill, the injectables Depo Provera and Noristerat which is given as an intramuscular shot every eight weeks. The progestin-only pill has to be taken at more specifically remembered times each and every day.

Intrauterine methods are contraceptive devices that are inserted inside the uterus. They are mostly shaped like the letter T. The arms of the T position the contraceptive device in place. In all there are two major types of intrauterine contraceptives. First contraceptive contains copper and the second type of contraceptives release progestogen. “The terms used for these devices are different in the United Kingdom and the United States. In the US, all devices which are inserted into the uterus to stop pregnancy are referred to as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs). In the UK, only copper-containing devices are called IUDs (or IUCDs), and hormonal intrauterine contraceptives are referred to with the name Intra-Uterine System (IUS). This could be because there are ten different types of copper IUDs available in the UK, compared to only one in the US.” (, 2006)

Surgical sterilization is offered in the manner of tubal ligation which is specifically for women and vasectomy which is exclusively for men. Sterilization is supposed to be considered permanent. In women, the process can also be called to tying the tubes. The fallopian tubes can be cut, tied, blocked, or even clamped. This serves to stop the sperm from fertilizing the unfertilized egg. The non-surgical sterilization method, which is also called Essure, is a type of a method which blocks the tubes, where micro-inserts are inserted into the fallopian tubes by a catheter inserted through the vagina by means of the cervix and uterus. Even though tubal ligation has been established to be permanent, a tubal ligation reversal can be performed as a reversal to once again be able to have children. The reversal process depends on the type of tubal ligation method used in addition to the woman's age and damage made to the tubes.

Symptoms-based methods of fertility recognition require a woman to observe and chart her body's fertility signs to establish the fertile and infertile stages of her cycle. This is something that may be done by hand or using special software. Most methods follow one or more of the three key fertility signs which change in basal body temperature, in cervical mucus, and cervical location. If a woman tracks the basal temperature and an extra primary sign, this particular method is called symptothermal. The other bodily cues like lower abdominal discomfort between the menstrual periods are known as secondary indicators. The fertility monitors are computerized mechanisms which determine fertility or infertility based on, temperature or urine examination. Calendar-based methods which include the rhythm method and the Standard Days Method approximate the probability of fertility according to the length of past menstrual cycles. To escape pregnancy with fertility awareness, unprotected sex is limited to the least fertile interval. For the duration of the most fertile periods, barrier methods can be used, or the woman can abstain from intercourse.

There are many misconceptions that have given rise to a lot false claims. The idea that douching with any matter instantly following intercourse works as a contraceptive is untrue. While it may seem like a reasonable idea to try to rinse the ejaculate out of the vagina, it is not likely to be effective. Because of the makeup of the fluids and the makeup of the female reproductive tract, douching will most likely spread semen further into the uterus. Some minor spermicidal effect may occur if the douche solution is for the most part acidic, but in general it is not scientifically practical to be a dependably effective method. Douching is neither a contraceptive nor a defensive measure against STDs or other significant infections. It is false that a female cannot become pregnant during the first time she participates in sexual intercourse. Although women are typically less fertile for the first number of days of menstruation, it is a myth that a woman cannot get pregnant if she has sex while on her period. Having sex in a hot tub does not avert pregnancy, but may be a factor to vaginal infections. Even though some sex positions may encourage pregnancy, no sexual positions can stop pregnancy. Having sex whilst standing up or with a woman on top will not keep the sperm from entering the uterus. The strength of ejaculation, the contractions of the uterus caused by an unsaturated fatty acid in the semen, in addition to the capability of sperm to swim overrides gravity. Urinating after sex also does not prevent pregnancy and is absolutely not a type of birth control, even though it is often advised nevertheless to help prevent urinary tract infections.

Efficiency of birth control is calculated by how many women become pregnant using a specific birth control method in the first year of use. Therefore, if 100 women use a method that has a twelve percent failure rate, then at some point during the first year of use, twelve of the women should become pregnant. The most successful methods in normal use are those that do not depend on common user action. “Surgical sterilization, Depo-Provera, implants, and intrauterine devices all have first-year failure rates of less than one percent for perfect use. Actually, perfect use may not be the case, but still, sterilization, implants, and IUDs also have typical failure rates under one percent. The typical failure rate of Depo-Provera is disagreed upon, with figures ranging from less than one percent up to three percent.” (FDA, 2005) Other methods may be greatly effective if used steadily and properly, but can have normal use first-year failure rates that are significantly higher due to improper or ineffective handling by the user.

Condoms and cervical barriers such as the diaphragm have comparable typical first-year failure rates. Proper handling of the condom is more effective and condoms have the added element of assisting to avert the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as the HIV virus. “The withdrawal method, if used consistently and correctly, has a first-year failure rate of four percent. Due to the difficulty of consistently using withdrawal correctly, it has a typical use first-year failure rate of 19 percent, and is not recommended by some medical professionals.” (Skouby, 2004)

Some of the methods of birth control offer protection against sexually transmitted infections. The male latex condom offers protection against some of the sexually transmitted infections with accurate and constant use, as does the female condom, though the female condom has only been permitted for vaginal sex. The female condom can offer better protection against sexually transmitted infections that can be transmitted through skin to skin contact, as the outer ring covers more of the exposed skin than the male condom does. Some of the methods that involve avoiding vaginal intercourse can also decrease risk. Latex or thermoplastic polymer barriers can be used during oral sex, and joint or solo masturbation and are very low-risk. The other methods of birth control do not offer considerable protection against the sexual transmission of infections. Many sexually transmitted infections may also be transmitted non-sexually. This is the main reason why abstinence from sexual activities does not guarantee protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Many teenagers in developed countries obtain some form of sex education in school. The information that should be provided in such programs is fiercely contested, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom. “Likely topics include reproductive anatomy, human sexual behavior, information on sexually transmitted diseases, social aspects of sexual interaction, negotiating skills intended to help teens follow through with a decision to remain abstinent or to use birth control during sex, and information on birth control methods.” (Bonner, 2006) One type of sex education program utilized primarily in the United States is called abstinence-only education, and it promotes full sexual abstinence until marriage. The programs do not promote birth control, repeatedly provide erroneous information about contraceptives and sexuality, emphasize malfunction rates of condoms and other contraceptives, and teach strategies for staying away from sexually intimate situations. Supporters of abstinence-only education believe that the programs will result in lower rates of teenage pregnancy and STD infection.

In conclusion birth control is not only important in avoiding premature pregnancies but can also save a person’s life by preventing the transmission of various diseases. It is extremely important to not only educate the adults but to educate our children in the proper use of the various birth control options available today. Abstinence is a wonderful thing but we have to approach the topic of sex with an open mind especially when dealing with teenagers.


Stacey, Dawn. Contraception. July 14, 2009

Hunt, Lynn, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, R. Po-chia Hsia, and Bonnie G. Smith. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. Third ed. Vol. C. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009.

"Researchers find no sperm in pre-ejaculate fluid." Contraceptive Technology Update 154-156. October 1993.

Tatman, John. Silphium: Ancient Wonder Drug? 2005

"Evolution and Revolution: The Past, Present, and Future of Contraception". Contraception Online (Baylor College of Medicine) February, 2000.

Weschler, Toni (2002). Taking Charge of Your Fertility. New York: HarperCollins.

Savelyeva GM, Gavrilova DV, Lobova TA (July 1997). "Family planning in Russia"

"New Contraceptive Choices". Population Reports, INFO Project, Center for Communication Programs (The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) April, 2005.Robert Finn. "Male Contraceptive Methods Are in the Pipeline". Ob/Gyn. News. May 1, 2007.

Kippley, John; Sheila Kippley (1996). The Art of Natural Family Planning (4th addition ed.). Cincinnati, OH. The Couple to Couple League. p. 146.