• Corbis

    POSITIVE

    The IUD’s the New Queen of Birth Control

    With an estimated 4 million unintentional pregnancies each year, gynecologists are urging their patients switch from oral contraceptives to an intrauterine device (IUD). Just three years after doctors cast it off as unsuitable, the IUD is reigning supreme.

    When teen pregnancy numbers hit an all-time low (PDF) this May, no less than the experts at the Brookings Institute pointed to the fear-mongering power of MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant as the driving factor behind it. Watching the social lives of new parents fizzle while their stress levels soared did for the American teen, it seems, what decades of free condoms and sex talks could not.

    But a strict adherence to safe sex didn’t completely take over the rhetoric, especially not among the actual grown-ups. Of the 4 million live births in the U.S. each year, half are estimated (PDF) to be unplanned or unintended—the largest majority of which come from women in their 20s. Out of these pregnancies, four in 10 will end in abortion.

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    Mike Derer/AP

    THE PILL

    Men vs. Contraceptives

    Should guys play a bigger role in preventing pregnancy?

    When the pill hit the market in the early ’60s, women thought they were finally liberated—they could have sex like men and not have to worry about getting pregnant. But with all the side effects that come along with birth control, some people are asking if men should have more responsibility for contraception. London-based professor John Guillebaud is developing a male pill, but whether men will be open to taking it is an open question. Meanwhile, women are encouraged to “go on the pill” with little regard for side effects such as nausea or depression.  While other contraceptives are available, as Guillebaud put it, “we’re in a box that says we always start on the pill and then never have the side effects ... You assume that it's the thing to do.”

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