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Emergency contraception: Is there a possibility of infertility

Emergency contraception usually stands for pills taken after unprotected sex. Basically, when taken on time, these pills can either stop the ovulation process or prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, making fertilization impossible.

However, people need to be careful with these birth control solutions and take them only when necessary. These pills are commonly known as “the morning after pills”, due to the fact that they are taken once the unprotected sex happens.

Emergency Contraception Basic Facts

There are several types of these pills, being available both over-the-counter and with the doctor's prescription. The type depends greatly on the hormones that the emergency contraception pills contain. Therefore, one may opt for progestin-only pills such as Plan B and Next Choice, being the most commonly found types of these pills on the market. These two are officially approved by the FDA and are issued only with a prescription by the doctor.

Once a female takes these pills within 24 hours after the unprotected sex, the chances of her becoming pregnant reduce to about 5%. So, none of these pills offer a 100% prevention of pregnancy. As the time after the unprotected sex goes on, the effect of emergency contraception drops. Thus, once up to 72 hours have passed since the incident, the chances of preventing pregnancy decrease to 89%.

After taking many customer complaints into considerations, the FDA allowed Plan B to be sold over-the-counter, due to the fact that many women may have been sexually assaulted or too young to obtain the pills any other way. In order to help those who are afraid or ashamed of seeking medical attention, these pills were made available in most pharmacies. Initially, only people older than 18 were allowed to get these pills. Later, the age limit dropped to 17, even though these individuals require a prescription.

At the moment, a new type of emergency contraception is on the rise, called Ella, preventing pregnancy by preventing or delaying ovulation, even when taken within 5 days after the questionable intercourse. However, if Ella gets approved by the FDA, obtaining it without a prescription will not be possible.

Because of this attitude of the FDA, numerous debates are carried out in order to protect those who lack medical insurance, those who are underage and those who need these pills but cannot obtain them for some other reasons. On the other hand, the emergency contraception pills are condemned by numerous religious groups, labeled as impure and sinful.

Any Effects on the Fertility?

Taking emergency contraception pills does not cause any severe problems to your health, even though certain, frequently seen side effects do exist. Basically, emergency contraception is capable of causing nausea, heavy bleeding and menstrual cramps, along with some symptoms related to PMS.

Yet, some sources claim that taking emergency contraception in the long run can lead to infertility or even increased susceptibility to cancer development, especially hormone-related type of cancer.

Still, most stories of this type are fiction, made for the media, confusing people all around the world, especially through the easily accessible information network of the Internet.

In fact, a couple of years ago, an email circled the mailboxes of people all over the globe, claiming how a woman who was taking emergency contraception died of a stroke.

Of course, such claims work against the pharmaceutical companies which produce emergency contraception, making their products less desirable due to the public beliefs that they are harmful for one's health.

Yet, countless studies carried out in defense of these pills and many similar products have proven that these cannot possibly cause infertility when used adequately. So, no new research study needs to be done, since the safety of such products is well known. Additionally, pharmaceutical companies cannot afford to fund a new type of research in their defense every time their products get accused somewhere on the Internet.

All in all, apart from the side effects found on the labels of the emergency contraception you are using, there are no other health hazards which may affect you, provided you follow all the usage instructions carefully.

We have to take into consideration that rumors about these pills have taken their toll on the minds of people. In a study carried out in the UK and Northern Ireland, it was found out that 91% of all women were well acquainted with the existence of emergency contraception. However, only 7% of all women used these products during the year before the study. The main reasons behind this fact mainly rest in ignorance and lack of information regarding the female fertility, the sexual intercourse and the functioning of emergency contraception.

Thus, emergency contraception will not make you infertile. Nevertheless, do not use it as a regular form of contraception, since it is meant to be used only in situations when unprotected sex took place accidentally. There are numerous other contraceptive variants for you to choose from, including condoms, intrauterine devices and regular birth control pills, being safe for everyday use.

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