Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Birth Control

There are certain things that are kind of awkward to discuss in polite society. So I'm going to discuss it here on the internet because it seems that anything goes on the internet.

I want to start with this quote from Elder Andersen's talk in the October 2011 General Conference:

When to have a child and how many children to have are private decisions to be made between a husband and wife and the Lord. These are sacred decisions—decisions that should be made with sincere prayer and acted on with great faith.
I want it to be very clear from the beginning that I am not anti-birth control. There are personal reasons related to the physical, mental, and emotional health of parents that they need to consider with the Lord and not with anyone else. They are personal considerations.

That being said, I've had some ponderings on birth control lately that I hope can be discussed respectfully.

Before getting married my basic understanding of birth control, outside of abstinence, was either "the pill" (hormonal birth control) or condoms. I didn't even realize there were so many different types of hormonal birth control out there. Or other forms of barrier methods.

When I got married the so-you're-going-to-get-married-and-have-sex-now talk with my mom consisted of her saying three words - "I suggest condoms." Because of everything being said everywhere else, we figured we'd use pills. My understanding was they work perfectly and were super easy and had no side effects (the ad agency on that one is doing a real good job).

And then I started looking more into it. And there are a TON of side effects. Granted, incidence of side effects are small, but did I really want to risk weight fluctuations, mood swings, altering my natural hormonal balance, and random break through bleeding in the lead up to our wedding while I adjusted to pills? No, not really.

I'd also heard of IUDs. Which can have hormones or not and are supposed to be super convenient. Although generally doctors like you to have a baby before they give you one of those. I know a lot of people that have an IUD.

But there's one thing I wonder about IUDs. Because IUDs don't prevent fertilization the way a barrier method like condoms or diaphragms do, or even some hormonal pills. IUDs prevent pregnancy by preventing the implantation of a growing embryo.

I know I'm completely biased on this topic because I have pictures of eleven of our growing embryos, two of which implanted and continued to grow for a while and what I want now more than anything in the world is for an embryo to implant again and keep growing.

With that being said, what I'm wondering is how these wonderful people I know who have IUDs feel about when life begins. I know they are all against abortion. Is it then okay to prevent life from continuing to grow through implantation but not okay to stop it from growing after implantation? Do they know that's how an IUD works? I've seen on other places around the internet where people who are not LDS are wondering the exact same things about their LDS friends with IUDs.

So you see, not exactly questions I could bring up at a family dinner. What are your thoughts on birth control options and when life begins?

Please keep the discussion respectful. This is me trying to understand how others think, not tell others how to think. I have my thoughts and opinions and you have yours. Please help me understand your thoughts and opinions. We reserve the rights we have as blog administrators to do what we need to do to keep the discussion respectful.


Anonymous said...

I've tried several forms of BC and no, I didn't understand exactly how they worked before I started using them. Each of the hormonal options I've tried (including extremely low dose varieties such as nuvaring) affected me negatively. I also learned that I have a latex sensitivity, so that rules out most condoms and the ones it doesn't rule out are pretty pricey. So after two very difficult experiences having my children, I looked into long term options that didn't involve hormones. I even contemplated permanent forms, but definitely got a big fat no from heavenly father on that one. Eventually I decided upon the copper IUD, because it seemed like my only option. I had regular pains from it that didn't go away after awhile like everyone suggested they would. As the months progressed, I became more and more uneasy about it, I started feeling like perhaps I was miscarrying every month. I decided to have it taken out less than a year after it being put in. Around that time I had a conversation with a friend that had previously had the copper IUD also and felt similarly. Heavenly Father prompted us to have another child at this time too, so while I haven't implemented it yet, after the baby is born, we'll be practicing NFP (natural family planning). My husband and I have studied and prayed about it and have decided that because the ability to bear children is a gift, we should constantly be praying about our family and following His timing.

Roxie said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I definitely think it is something that should be a matter of prayer. And each couple will get their own answer.

After we studied it out and thought about it we opted for a silicon diaphragm as our method of birth control. Shortly after we got married I discovered the fertility awareness method (FAM) and we used the two together while we were waiting for the right time to start trying and then we used FAM to try and get pregnant.

TRS said...

Just coming across this post now. I'm very happy to see an open, intelligent discussion on this.

I believe that life begins at conception. The moment the egg and sperm meet and start to divide cells, becoming an embryo.
Therefore, if the IUD prevents an embryo from implanting, that makes it an abortifacient.

As a Catholic, I believe that every sex act should be engaged with an attitude that is open to life.
The reason for the "open to life" mentality is important, is because it increases closeness, bonding and trust between a husband and wife. It is the difference between saying, "I love you and I want to share everything with you, and to share every part of me with you, EXCEPT our fertility." and "I love you and I want to share everything with you, and to share every part of me with you, including our potential to have a child as a result of our lovemaking."
Which sounds more loving? Which sounds more accepting of God's plan?

That doesn't mean that a couple should expect to get pregnant every time, or even want to get pregnant every time. This is why the Church approves of various NFP methods to monitor and understand our fertility. There are only 5 days a month that conception can occur. NFP methods allow couples to determine those days with great accuracy (99.5%)
For those trying to conceive, NFP methods help determine highest fertility, and also reveals additional information that can help you and your doctor pinpoint problems or barriers to conception.

So yes, I believe anything that prevents the natural course of events of intercourse is wrong. I understand not everyone thinks the same thing. and they don't have to. I'm not trying to convert the rest of the U.S. to be "open to life" - (though it would be nice if they did!) But I am interested in helping more people to understand the Church's position - which is not to dictate to everyone, but to respect what we believe and not force us to go against our conscience. But that's not what you're asking.

I will add, that hormonal birth control is classified as a Class one Carcinogen by the World Health Organization - and also carries many hazardous side-effects, which, as you said, are covered up by some tremendous PR campaign!!
Likewise, if that's not enough deterrent , it is also proven that BC in our water supply (as a result of mass numbers of women peeing the hormones into the sewer systems) is creating genderless fish in our streams... or reduced numbers of male fish. And if that is happening to fish, what will it do eventually to humans?

Sorry if I overstayed my welcome in terms of length of a comment!!! But I do appreciate the forum!