The Pill Essay

2841 words - 11 pages

Missing Works Cited

"Should women alone bear the burden of contraception and its side effects ­ including its failure ­ while men enjoy the pleasures of sexual freedom and fatherhood? Must the word wait for the "perfect" male contraceptive to be created by researchers and manufacturers while women continue to experience actual and potential side effects? Can the world afford to wait while unwanted pregnancy and abortion abound in this country and populations continue to soar in developing lands? Might a less than perfect method be acceptable, in order to achieve better population stabilization?"
- Diller et al.

The above statement comes from an article in Fertility and Sterility written in 1977 appealing for greater funding for research in the field of male contraceptives. Due to the time in which it was written, and consequently, the research conducted up until then, the pill as a carcinogen had yet to be established. Instead, and coincidentally with the "sign of the times", the article took the high moral ground, extolling the importance of mutual responsibility between men and women towards reproductive behavior. However, the major dangers of the pill have extended beyond those of water retention, depression and/or loss of libido in 1977 to breast cancer risk in 2000. As a result of sufficient funding in breast cancer research this valuable information is now available to the general public. Similar information concerning equivalent male contraception and/or alternative female contraception and long term side effects might have been available, as well, had funding been allocated accordingly some 50 years ago when the pill was invented by John Rock . Hopefully, with the advent of research in male contraceptives, men and women would be able to alternate contraceptive use so that both parties could minimize their respective potential risks.

It is important, of course, to first note those protective and perceived protective benefits afforded by hormonal contraceptives and hormonal therapy and to stress that these benefits continued and continue to play a role in its popularity among physicians and patients since their inception . It is not my aim to bury the pill but simply to widen the options for birth control. Also, it is important to note that, the concentrations and combinations of the pill and hormonal therapy have changed in response to research over the years and that the lowered concentrations of present day oral contraceptives are safer than they were in the past .

A brief mention of how the pill works: estrogen and progestogen production are reduced, resulting in suppression of ovarian function.

Mishell elucidated on the protective benefits of the pill (combined oral contraceptive) in1982: less menstrual blood; abrogation of irregular menses; 50% reduction in endometrial cancer; reduction in benign breast disease with increasing progestin dosage; the elimination of functional ovarian cysts; and decreased risk for ovarian...

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