Tuesday, October 02, 2007

After the morning-after pill

Sold over the counter, the morning-after pill is the ultimate convenience drug. However, is regular use affecting women's fertility?

...But Gemma's blushes were not simply prompted by the embarrassment of having to ask for such an emergency measure, or the fact that the night before she'd had drunken, unprotected sex with her boyfriend, but also because, shockingly, it was her 60th request for the drug in less than five years.

..."People will say that we could use condoms, but we feel they desensitise sex and make it less intimate [what could be more intimate than sharing venereal diseases?], so we'd rather not bother with them and, to be honest, we're often too drunk to have a conversation about contraception in the throes of passion anyway." [They must have a great relationship, to have to be really drunk to have sex]

..."I literally take it and forget about it and I don't worry about taking it all the time because it says in the leaflet that comes with it that as long as you don't use it more than once in a menstrual cycle then it's fine." [If the leaflet says it, that means it's so]

Gemma's relaxed attitude to her sexual health and fertility is not one that's shared by Olga Van den Akker, professor of health psychology at Middlesex University.

"To think that it's healthy to regularly take a drug designed only for emergency use is totally naive.

"The makers of Levonelle may well state that there's no reason why a woman shouldn't take it once every cycle, but on a cautionary note we don't know what the long-term effects of these hormonal preparations are for woman's health and fertility.

"They could well turn out to be nasty.

"How will she feel if, for the sake of expediency, she has been playing Russian roulette with her chances of motherhood?

"In theory, prolonged use of the drug could affect a woman's fertility because it messes about with the body's menstrual cycle," she says.

"These young women who go out, get drunk and regularly have unprotected sex because they rely on the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, may one day want to conceive.

"And if they find they can't, then they'll have to deal with the emotional burden of fertility problems brought on by the irresponsible sexual behaviour of their youth."

[But professor, I don't care what may happen 10 years from now, I want to have drunken unprotected sex multiple times a year NOW!]

...Serena says: "The truth is that because the morning-after pill was available in pharmacies so readily, there was no real incentive for me to be careful about having safe sex."
[I am shocked SHOCKED that easy access to the morning-after pill increases unprotected sex]

..."It got to the stage where we'd be careless during sex and I'd just think: 'Oh well, I'll just tag another hour onto my morning so I can go and get the morning-after pill.'

"I know now that attitude is wrong but so many women think the same and in part it's being driven by the availability of Levonelle.

"Drug companies are making a fortune out of it, so perhaps they aren't telling us the whole story about what it can do to your body if it's taken regularly.
[No way! Everyone knows that companies in the "family planning" business would NEVER have an ulterior motive like $!]

So what happens when our generation settles down and instead of being obsessed with preventing pregnancy, we are obsessed with getting pregnant? Are we going to learn the hard way what all the long term consequences are of new birth controls, morning-after pills, and medical abortions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

definitely food for thought