Birth Control

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School-aged children have the benefit of sex education required as part of their public school curriculum. The joke in the secular world is “Sexual Education classes should just be listening to a baby cry for five hours straight while watching the same cartoon on repeat.” In the Orthodox world, the more babies your sister has, the more anxious you become when you are not expecting your first child the morning after your wedding. The continuity of the Jewish nation is placed on your shoulders, and you are burdened with the desperate need to procreate, or else.

People who do not have children are seen as nebachs (pity cases), and prayer circles and fasts are held for them. Friends will give charity or bake challah on behalf of your fertility. Copies of ATIME magazine will appear in your mailbox unsolicited. Yet, if you are struggling with the idea of having children, know that you have options.

It is important to remember that birth control is a way to prevent pregnancy. It is not a guarantee or a barrier against sexually transmitted diseases. You may have been taught that birth control is a big aveirah (sin) and that zera levatalah (spilling seed in vain) is a guaranteed trip to hell.

Your privacy is your right. If you choose not to have children, then you owe nobody an explanation. If people are praying for you, just thank them politely and move on. In the meantime, consider the following birth control options, Alphabetical list reprinted from Planned Parenthood

  • Abstinence - M/F
    • Some people define abstinence as not having vaginal intercourse when a woman might get pregnant.
    • This is better described as periodic abstinence, which is one of the fertility awareness-based methods of birth control.
    • Some people define abstinence as not having any kind of sex play with a partner.
  • Birth Control Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon) - F
    • A matchstick-sized rod that is inserted in the arm to prevent pregnancy.
    • It must be inserted by a health care provider
    • Costs between $0 and $800 up front, but lasts up to three years
  • Birth Control Patch - F
    • A small patch that sticks to your skin to prevent pregnancy
    • Easy to get with a prescription Costs about $0–$80 a month
  • Birth Control Pills - F
    • Take a pill each day to prevent pregnancy
    • Easy to get with a prescription
    • Cost about $0–$50 each month
  • Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera) - F
    • A shot in the arm that prevents pregnancy
    • Easy to get with a prescription
    • Lasts for three months
    • Costs $0–$100 per injection, plus any exam fees
  • Birth Control Sponge (Today Sponge) - F
    • A foam sponge inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy
    • Costs $0–$15 for a package of three sponges
    • Birth Control Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing) - F
    • A small ring you put in your vagina once a month for three weeks to prevent pregnancy
    • Costs about $0–$80 a month
  • Breastfeeding as Birth Control - F
    • Sometimes called LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method)
    • A natural way to prevent pregnancy after giving birth Effective, safe, convenient, and free
    • Lasts for up to six months after giving birth
    • Results are not guaranteed and a low-dose pill is recommended as an extra security measure.
  • Cervical Cap (FemCap) - F
    • A silicone cup inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy
    • Lasts for up to two years Costs about $0–$75
  • Condom - M
    • Worn on the penis
    • Made of latex or plastic
    • Prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection
    • Can be used with another form of birth control for extra protection
    • Can be used for vaginal, anal, or oral sex
    • Safe, effective, and easy to get
    • Cost about $1 each, but are sometimes available for free
  • Diaphragm - F
    • A shallow silicone cup inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy
    • The diaphragm blocks the opening to the uterus, while the spermicide stops sperm from moving.
    • Lasts up to two years Costs about $0–$75
  • Female Condom - F
    • A pouch inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy
    • Can be used for vaginal and anal intercourse
    • Cost about $4 each
  • Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs) M/F
    • Fertility awareness-based methods (FAMs) are ways to track ovulation — the release of an egg — in order to prevent pregnancy. Some people call FAMs "natural family planning."
    • Knowing when your fertile days will happen can help you avoid a pregnancy.
    • A woman's fertile days depend on the life span of the egg and the sperm. Her egg lives for about a day after ovulation. Sperm can live inside her body for about six days.
    • A woman has a chance of her egg joining a sperm about seven days of every menstrual cycle. This includes the five days before ovulation. It includes the day of ovulation. It also includes the day or two after ovulation — even though it's less likely to happen then.
  • IUD - F
    • Small, "T-shaped" device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy
    • Must be inserted by a health care provider
    • Costs between $0 and $1,000 up front, but lasts up to 12 years
  • Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception) - F
    • Birth control you can use to prevent pregnancy up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex
    • Two kinds of emergency contraception
    • morning-after pill
    • ParaGard IUD insertion
    • Available at health centers and drugstores
    • Costs vary from $30 to $65 for the morning-after pill and $500 to $900 for IUD insertion
    • A staff member at your local Planned Parenthood health center can discuss abortion and all of your options with you
  • Outercourse - M/F
    • Sex play that keeps sperm out of the vagina to prevent pregnancy
    • Kissing, Masturbation, manual stimulation, Body-to-body rubbing, fantasy, sex toys, etc.
  • Spermicide - F
    • A substance that prevents pregnancy by stopping sperm from moving
    • Spermicide can be used alone, or it can be used with other birth control methods to make them more effective. It is always used with the diaphragm and cervical cap
    • Costs about $8 per package
  • Sterilization for Women (Tubal Sterilization) - F
    • Surgery that prevents pregnancy
    • Costs between $0 and $6,000
    • Meant to be permanent
  • Vasectomy - M
    • Sterilization for men that prevents pregnancy
    • Costs $0 to $1,000
    • Meant to be permanent
  • Withdrawal (Pull Out Method) - M/F
    • Withdrawal is also called coitus interruptus or the "pull out method"
    • A man who uses withdrawal will pull his penis out of the vagina before ejaculation — the moment when semen spurts out of his penis.
    • Withdrawal may be the world's oldest way to practice birth control. About 35 million couples worldwide rely on withdrawal. It is only partially effective in preventing pregnancy.

As your family doctor for a prescription and guidance on which birth control method is best for you. Condoms may be purchased at your pharmacy’s Family Planning isle.

Whenever having a sexual encounter outside of a committed, monogamous relationship, the transmission of a sexually transmitted infection is a very real possibility. If you don't ask, many people will not inform you of their HIV, Herpes, or other infection. There are only two ways to prevent transmission. First is abstinence. The second way is always using a condom and dental dam. People have caught HIV by only giving unprotected oral. Always wrap it.