Contraception is a very important aspect of today’s college culture when students want to engage in–as Shakespeare writes in Othello– “making the beast of two backs.” There are many different types of contraception that sexually active students may use or want to consider using. The type most widely used (and available at the Student Housing Reception Desk) is the male condom. It prevents male ejaculate from entering his partner by acting as a barrier once placed upon the male erect appendage (a.k.a. the penis). While condoms boast an over 90% success rate, there is a chance that it may break during intercourse, and a failure ensues. This is where other hormonal forms of birth control like “Plan B” come in.
Birth control pills are taken by females that engage in sexual behavior that, when taken regularly, can prevent pregnancy to an extent. This occurs through the release of hormones that prevent the release of an egg from the ovary and thus stops fertilization and conception. The trouble with this type of birth control is that this influx of chemical hormones may lead to the formation of blood clots in the body, which can further lead to other serious medical issues like pulmonary embolism, heart attack, and stroke. The same hormones can be used weekly in a patch or monthly as a vaginal ring. The Morning After Pill, branded as “Plan B,” is taken in case of an emergency due to the failure of a prior used contraception, like the aforementioned broken condom or irregular use of birth control. It is ideally taken within the first three days after intercourse, as with each passing day adding to the likelihood of egg fertilization. Other types of female contraception include the female condom, which has a much lower success rate than those previously mentioned. Another type of hormonal contraception is the muscular injection which is given every three months to the female. Other contraception methods, like IUD (intrauterine device), a T-shaped device that is placed in the uterus and stops the egg from being implanted uterus. IUDs are very effective, but are costly for those without insurance and may be an inconvenience to the woman who has to go immediately to see her doctor soon after intercourse.
To date, there are no contraception methods without side effects or that work 100% of the time. Women are burdened with handling contraception because they are the ones that become pregnant: men carry less responsibility due to the unequal distribution of initial consequence. While women have some of the most effective types of contraception, these methods can have serious medical repercussions due to the presence of additional hormones. However, research is underway for a chemically injected male contraceptive which would involve a non-toxic chemical agent being injected into the vas-deferens (tubes that carry sperm) to prevent the release of sperm. The chemical would work until flushed out by another chemical injection. Unfortunately, while the new contraceptive method has been successful in animal testing, the injection has shown negative results in human trials, but we all hope it will be available soon.