Specialists from the U.S. and Sweden have published a report in this month's Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare calling for the development of a contraceptive pill that can be used routinely after sex and fertilization.
Post-fertilization contraception is an especially appealing concept because it could potentially be taken only once per menstrual cycle — as in, only one pill a month — and the authors of the report claim that it's scientifically feasible. The main obstacle to the development of post-fertilization contraception, it turns out, is the inevitable political opposition.
According to the BMJ Group, there are many benefits to this type of contraception: it can be used far longer after sex than emergency contraception, giving women a wider window of access time. It's also, obviously, more convenient. As the report's authors put it:
Importantly, post-fertilisation methods would eliminate the conceptual and logistical challenge of needing to obtain and initiate contraception before having sex, which can be daunting for both women and men.
The authors note that, since both the U.S. and U.K. define the start of pregnancy as the implantation of a fertilized egg, post-fertilization contraception could be seen as a form of abortion — which could lead to a huge amount of political opposition and lot of very familiar, very loud shouting over the fate of the unborn. But survey evidence indicates that women support the concept: all that's lacking are "intrepid" funders. And, furthermore, there are extant contraception methods (i.e., IUDs) that do sometimes prevent pregnancy after fertilization.
As the study's lead author, Elizabeth Raymond, puts it: “[Post-fertilisation] contraception doesn’t have to be acceptable to every woman. No method is acceptable to every woman now.” What matters is that those woman who want — and perhaps need — a more convenient method of birth control have access to it.
"Doctors Call for Once-a-Month Birth-Control Pill" [The Cut]
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