March 14, 2024

What is Contraception?

“Conception,” as it relates to pregnancy, is not a medical term. It has become customary to use this term to refer to fertilization, the coming together of egg and sperm. Some people use “conception” to mean the beginning of a pregnancy.

Fertilization by itself does not constitute pregnancy. For a pregnancy to exist, the fertilized egg must implant itself in the lining of the uterus. It is not unusual for fertilized eggs to pass out of a woman’s body without implanting.

Contraception is any method that is used to prevent pregnancy. Contraception is sometimes referred to as “birth control”. Some well-known contraceptives are condoms and birth control pills.

Barrier methods of contraception prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, so fertilization cannot occur. These include condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, and spermicides.

Hormonal methods of contraception use medication to prevent ovulation. That means that they stop eggs from being released. These include pills, injections, patches, and implants.

An intrauterine device (typically called an IUD) is a device that is placed inside the uterus. IUDs use hormones or copper to prevent sperm from fertilizing eggs.

Emergency contraception, sometimes called “the morning after pill”, can be used after unprotected sex has occurred. This is a hormonal method that delays or prevents ovulation: no egg is released. Some people confuse emergency contraception with abortion, but they are not the same. An “abortion pill” is used to end a pregnancy, whereas emergency contraception prevents pregnancy. They are NOT the same medication.

Behavioral methods of birth control include “withdrawal,” whereby the man withdraws his penis from the vagina before ejaculation; and “fertility awareness,” also known as the “rhythm method,” whereby a couple attempts to avoid intercourse during the days the woman is most likely to be fertile.

Sterilization is a permanent form of contraception, that removes a person’s ability to produce a pregnancy. Methods of sterilization include vasectomy for men and tubal ligation (sometimes called “tying the tubes”) for women. In some cases, these methods can be surgically reversed. A woman who has undergone hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) cannot get pregnant. This is not reversible.

Note that there are some additional methods of contraception not mentioned here. See the links at the end for more detailed information.

Abortion is not a method of contraception. Abortion ends an existing pregnancy, whereas contraception prevents pregnancy.

Some people believe that it is wrong for women to engage in sexual intercourse for pleasure or love, but that they should have sex only for the purpose of getting pregnant. These people oppose the use of contraception, and advise women to remain celibate if they don’t want pregnancy. Thousands of years of human history demonstrate that this is an unrealistic idea.

Article from Medical News Today explaining conception:

Article from Cleveland Clinic explaining birth control:

Article from WebMD on the history of contraception:

Article from History on reproductive rights in the U.S.:


No comments :

Post a Comment

If you are a real person making a real comment, your comment will appear after moderation. Thank you for your patience.