Birth Control Pill Celebrates Milestone, Faces New Criticism


The birth control pill has just turned 50 years old. While early versions of the drug were often fraught with serious side effects, most women can take today's birth control pills with little danger of severe adverse effects. This contraceptive method is often credited with allowing young women the reproductive freedom their great grandmothers only dreamed of.

A recent article in New York magazine outlines one negative ramification of the success of the birth control pill, however. According to the article’s author, many women are now delaying pregnancy until their late thirties or forties, a time when infertility is much more likely. This is leading to a sharp increase in the number of women seeking treatment for infertility, expending large amounts of money and experiencing high levels of stress in an attempt to have a child. For most women, the risk of infertility increases incrementally after the third decade of life, along with complications such as miscarriages and severe fetal defects, making the use of birth control in one’s twenties and thirties ultimately a double-edged sword.

Women planning to have children should create a comprehensive reproductive plan with their gynecologist, regardless of whether the plan is short-term or decades into the future.

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