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I *really* don't want a baby *ever* ... options?

By Anonymous February 7, 2009 - 10:03pm
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I don't ever want children, and my fiance has no problem with this - the issue is how do I prevent getting pregnant!
I've read up on contraception and am appalled at the "effectiveness" of various methods... the BEST options only give a 99% effectiveness, at most. But what does that mean? One or two places have explained this as a percentage of people who will not get pregnant, if using the contraception correctly, IN A YEAR.
I assume, I hope wrongly, that this means that if I use one form of contraception for the decades of my remaining fertility... that my chances of getting pregnant (1% a year) will end up as a 20%+ over my lifetime.

My fiance and I have discussed it. And discussed it. But I am a VERY paranoid person, and merely getting a little intimate (I'm still a virgin) turns me off because of the chance of getting pregnant. If I don't find a solution it will ruin my as-yet-not-formed sex life.
He was originally very opposed to sterilization, because I am still young and "might change my mind". Which I agree is probably wise.
After discussing it a LOT, he has turned around, and even offered that maybe he SHOULD get sterilized - but it is me who is so dramatically opposed to getting pregnant, and I don't think it's my place to have him be the one to go through it, even though it is cheaper and easier for the guy. If we weren't to last (not that I think we won't, it's just a possibility) who knows whether he'd end up wanting kids again. And as he originally suggested, there is also the chance I will regret such a permanent choice.

So yeah, uh.. help?!

Add a Comment11 Comments

Actually, no one is 100% sure how birth control works for every woman, every time. Strange, right?

Specifically, birth control works in one of three different ways, depending on many various factors, either by
1) interfering with ovulation,
2) creating an environment in the uterus that is not viable for implantation (ie, thinning the lining of the uterus) and/or
3) creating an environment that makes it difficult for sperm to reach the uterus (thickening the mucus membranes in the cervix, the opening of the uterus).

So, some women still can release an egg and ovulate while taking birth control; others may not.

For all of these reasons, that is why there is a small chance of becoming pregnant in a given year. You can take control of reducing your odds by using your contraception consistently and correctly every time.

The IUD, for example, has an effectiveness rate of 0.3%, better than the 1% you mentioned.

Also, your fear of 20% chance of becoming pregnant over your lifetime is (fortunately) not how the stats work--each year is its own "event" statistically speaking. So, think of this in terms of 0.3% per year odds (depending on the type of contraception you use).

Another thought for you: you can further lessen those chances by "doubling up" on contraception. For instance, if you are using a hormonal method (pill, patch, ring, IUD, etc) than you can also add a barrier method (male condom, female condom, cervical cap, etc). Planned Parenthood has a list of available birth control options, both hormonal and barrier.

Does any of this help?

February 8, 2009 - 1:55pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Could you use both a hormonal contraception and a copper (not a hormonal) IUD?
Could you tell if you were still ovulating while on the pill, and base your contraceptive choices on that?
Are you less likely to ovulate on the pill if it were a higher dosage pill?

February 8, 2009 - 2:12pm
(reply to Anonymous)

What an interesting question!

I am not sure if you can use a hormonal contraception AND the copper IUD at the same time. Here is more information about both types of IUDs from Planned Parenthood.

I'll see if I can get one of the medical experts to answer your questions, as I am not sure.

We'll get back to you soon!

February 8, 2009 - 2:32pm

You are right: every form of contraception does have a failure rate. You are not going to find a 100% effectiveness rate (even vasectomy is not 100% effective in the first 3-4 months).

Luckily, the statistics do not increase every year as you suggested; there is not an "multiplying effect" on the numbers (I forget the correct statistical terms). Your worry of: "if 1% chance over a year equals 20% over 20 years" is not statistically correct. Every year, you have less than 1% chance of becoming pregnant when using one of the most effective forms of contraception consistently and correctly.

Have you heard of emergency contraception? That may ease your fears. If you are using a condom and it breaks, or forget to take a birth control pill, there is something you can take up to 72 hours after intercourse to help prevent a pregnancy. You can read more about emergency contraception.

Here is a chart that compares the effectiveness rates of various types of birth control methods.

You can learn more about all of your options at How birth control works at the ACOG site.

Something that might also ease your fears: you might want to read through the above brochures and learn about your fear: how do women get pregnant? It's actually not as easy as you may think! A woman has only a 20% chance of becoming pregnant in any one menstrual cycle.

You can also learn about when you ovulate, and know that you have control about some of the mitigating factors (since we're talking about statistics). For instance, you can increase your odds by: not having intercourse during ovulation, you can use a form of hormonal contraception plus a condom.

hope this helps!

February 8, 2009 - 7:42am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

But aren't you not supposed to ovulate when you're on any sort of hormonal contraception? It doesn't always work that you don't, but that would be why you still have that chance of getting pregnant?

February 8, 2009 - 1:29pm
EmpowHER Guest

Whoa...you don't need to read up on contraception...you need to read up on probability and statistics.

February 8, 2009 - 7:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Yes, sharing would be helpful. As I said, I hope that I am wrong in my assumptions about statistics, but 1% per year, to me, sounds like if you relied on it long enough you'd eventually get pregnant.

February 8, 2009 - 1:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I went away and thought about this for a bit, here's what I think. Feel free to tell me where I am wrong!
Okay, say that there are 100 things of equal probability that could happen in a year. One being I get pregnant, the other 99 being I don't. 1/100.
For two years, there are 10000 things of equal probability that could have happened... 100 for each of the 100 things that happened in the first year. 100 of these ten thousand are possible babies, and a further 99 are the chance that I had a baby last year and none this year. 1 is the chance that I have had a baby each year. That makes 200/10000... or 2/100. 2%.

February 8, 2009 - 2:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

1 out of 100 for year 1
1 out of 100 for year 2

that makes 2 out of 200
which is still 99%

I believe the stat is also actually 99.9, or at least less than 1 percent...

Not only that, but you have to factor in what points in your cycle that you can become pregnant, and apply the statistic to that...

I'd say your chances are pretty low, but if you are still paranoid, a vasectomy is easily reversible for your fiancee.

February 26, 2009 - 3:44pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

If they are the same 100 people on both years, then it actually is 2 out of 100 getting pregnant in 2 years. In your example the people on year 1 and year 2 are different, making up a total of 200 people... But in real life I suppose most of us are using contraception and having sex for a lot longer time than one year of our lives...

There is a group of 100 people who uses contraception for 20 years.
Each year one of them gets pregnant.
= during 20 years, 20 of them will get pregnant (possibly less if a single person gets pregnant several times)

March 15, 2013 - 9:19am
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