Health and Fitness: Contraceptives Birth Control Article Category
Did you know that your teenage daughter can get a birth control implant without your consent? This might sound scary to some of us but the NHS seems to think that it is preferable to unplanned teenage pregnancy. Of course it is not just pregnancy that is the issue but also the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. Initially the rate of teenage pregnancies did not appear to be on the decrease despite numerous campaigns and it seemed that trying to convince teenagers not to have sex or have safer sex was not working that well and that encouraging contraception was a more viable alternative.
Contraceptives like the pill and condoms are only effective when used correctly but condoms need to be on hand at the appropriate time and pills may be forgotten. According to the UK Office for National Statistics 'The number of conceptions to girls aged under 16 was 7,158 in 2009, compared with 7,586 in 2008 (a decrease of 5.6 per cent). Three-fifths (59.8 per cent) of conceptions to girls aged under 16 in 2009 led to a legal abortion.' If this trend continues downwards can we then thank contraceptives for the change? Should we then be encouraging increased uptake?
It appears that some teenagers still operate under the assumption that 'it won't happen to me' despite sex education so if you can't stop your teenagers from having sex when they have chosen to how can we protect them from the unintended consequences? In the past parents would argue that it's physically, emotionally and psychologically beneficial to keep sexual activity within the bounds of a lifelong mutually faithful relationship but does this thinking still resonate with our teenagers today?
So what is the birth control implant anyway? Implanon is the brand name for the small, rod-shaped subdermal implant containing etonogestrel which is a synthetic form of the female sex hormone, progesterone produced by the ovary to prevent the release of eggs. The hormones released by the implant prevent pregnancy for up to three years after which they must be replaced. It can be inserted below the skin on the inner part of the upper arm by a trained clinician in a few minutes.
The benefits to using the implant are that once it is properly inserted it requires no follow-up action and is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It is also discrete because it is not visible under the skin although it can be felt when touching the skin over the implant. There is no need for teenagers to be reminded to take the contraceptive regularly. Although the implant is safe to use possible side-effects include irregular bleeding, spotting, heavy periods or no period at all. It is also critical to remember that the implant offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
So what would you think if your teenage daughter went behind your back and got the implant? Alternatively, what would you think of a parent that insists that their teenage daughter gets an implant? Ultimately, it is her body so should it be her choice?