By Mackenzie Viera |Staff Writer|
Dr. Carl Djerassi, best known as the father of birth control, died in his San Francisco home at 91.
The chemist developed a molecule that served as the key ingredient to the birth control pill, allowing women to take a new-found control in their lives by preventing unplanned pregnancies.
Djerassi wrote many books, one of which was titled “The Man’s Pill”, where he expressed his interest in the way the pill affected society.
The evolution of birth control can be traced as far back as 1500 B.C. when women created concoctions made of crocodile feces.
Djerassi lead a team in a Mexico City laboratory to study and discover the primary chemical found in all birth control pills today called norethindrone in 1951.
Djerassi’s discovery triggered numerous studies that have resulted in other successful contraceptives such as the Intrauterine Device (IUD), NuvaRing, patch and hormone implants.
The most commonly used birth control method is the pill, which is used by 16 percent of women between the ages of 15-44, according to WebMD.
Falling behind the pill are female sterilization and condoms.
Ninety-nine percent of sexually-active women aged 15-44 have at least used one source of contraceptives, according to Guttmacher.com.
“I’m sure most guys can agree on saying it feels better without a condom,” said student Daniel Armstrong.
“But if it’s not my girlfriend, I would definitely use a condom. If it were my girlfriend, I’d assume she was on some birth control method she feels comfortable with.”
Though his invention created controversies over one’s safety, side effects, and morality, Djerassi gave public lectures to inform society on the benefits of the contraceptive.
“I don’t use the pill because I don’t have sex very often and would rather not risk the side effects it may cause,” said student Eboni Jett.
Although the pill is reported to be 99.9 percent effective when taken as prescribed, the side effects vary.
The cons of the pill consist of weight gain, nausea, low sex drive, and for smokers, it can increase the possibility of blood clots.
“My favorite birth control method is the pull out method,” said Jett. “I know it sounds silly but I don’t usually engage in intercourse and when I do, it’s with someone I trust.”
Though birth control methods such as the pill, IUD, and NuvaRing are reported to be effective against pregnancies, they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
There are nearly 20 million cases of new STD infections every year within the ages 15-24.
The most common STD’s are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
California was ranked the highest in syphilis, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed San Bernardino fifth in its state for the most cases of the STD gonorrhea.
The only form of contraceptive that prevents pregnancies and STDs available today is the condom.
Although the pill does not protect users from STDs, Djerassi’s findings allows women to control their fertility, making the pill the most common and highly effective contraceptive utilized today, according to WebMD.
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