There are multiple methods, tools, and techniques that a woman can use in pursuit of birth control. There are a few optionsavailable to men as well, but females have the wider range of choices. It should be noted, however, that there are a fewcaveats. For example, very few methods for contraception – or “family planning,” as the Catholic Church calls it – arecompletely safe. In fact, a vast majority of them still have a slight risk of going awry.
Scientifically speaking, the single most effective form of birth control is still abstinence. No sex means no chance ofconceiving, after all. Technically speaking, human fertilization is still possible through artificial insemination.
Abstinence, as a form of birth control, does not cost anything. It also provides the additional benefit of preventing someonefrom getting an STD. However, many people find the lack of sex to be a frustrating aspect of abstinence, and the one trait ofthe method that is likely to make it unappealing.
Withdrawal, also known as coitus interruptus, is supposedly an effective form of birth control. The process involves havingthe male “withdraw” from the vagina just prior to ejaculation, preventing the sperm from entering the cervix of the female.
Some men have expressed problems with this approach, mainly because it forces men to remain on-guard at all times. This, intheory, causes sexual frustration on the part of the male and, arguably, reduces sexual gratification for both parties. Whilemost couples find this an acceptable trade-off in favor of contraception, the fact is that even withdrawal still poses acertain degree of risk of pregnancy. This method may not work as effectively as it should, depending on a number of variablesincluding the presence of fluid on the tip of the penis that might already contain sperm cells even before the manejaculates.
The Catholic Church-approved Natural Family Planning method is one that presents even more risks, mainly due to the number ofvariables involved. The main problem with this is that it requires a detailed, intimate understanding of the female partner’sovulation cycle and the dependence on the regularity of it. This method involves estimating when the female is at her leastfertile, which is taken as the only time when sex would be safe from the possibility of pregnancy. However, this only worksif the female’s ovulation cycle is regular, with the slightest unknown alteration or interruption increasing the risks. Incontrast, if the couple ever decides to have a child, they also have an idea of when the female is at her most fertile,increasing chances of conception.
Pills are usually among the most favored birth control methods on the market. These medications rely on manipulating thehormone levels of the woman’s body, preventing the release of the egg cell from the ovaries. There have been numerous sideeffects associated with the use of the pill, but in general terms, it is the most effective pharmaceutical method out there.
However, this is true only if the prescribed schedule for taking the pills is followed, since the slightest interruption oralteration could disrupt the hormonal flow that the pills control.
Condoms are one of two birth control options for males, and also the option that has the highest risk. Condoms can rupture orhave small holes in them, which can reduce their effectiveness. On their own, condoms can be a problem. However, when used inconjunction with other birth control methods, such as the pill, then it can be very effective in preventing pregnancy.