14.8 Contraception

Our understanding of fertilization and pregnancy has been used to increase and decrease the odds of pregnancy. Technologies that are used to reduce the chance of pregnancy are called birth control or contraception. Technologies that are used to increase the chance of pregnancy can be broadly categorized as fertility treatments.

Below are some of the common methods of contraception and a bit of information about each. For more detailed and more frequently updated information ask a medical health professional. Some hormonal methods of birth control carry some serious—but rare—side-effect risks, such as potentially fatal blood clots, so medical consultation is important when selecting appropriate contraception. Estimations of failure rates of these methods (what percentage of people using the method for a year will have a pregnancy) vary widely between “typical use,” or how the contraception is often used, and “perfect use,” or how the contraception should be used. Examples of the difference between typical use and perfect use are things like taking birth control pills at different times of the day or missing a pill, not putting a condom on right away during sex, or not putting a condom on correctly. Finally, note that a few contraception methods decrease the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

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For more information on birth control methods, Planned Parenthood has good information. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

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The Evolution and Biology of Sex by Sehoya Cotner and Deena Wassenberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.