To Implant or not to Implant

by Ella Pestine on March 26, 2014

According to, in America half of pregnancies are unplanned. These unplanned pregnancies don’t just include teen moms who forget to use condoms or can’t afford birth control; married couples experience unplanned pregnancies all the time. (Your closest sibling is ten years older than you? Hmmm…) Unplanned pregnancies can lead to a wide gamut of potential problems including a lack of prenatal care, negative attitudes about the child, lack of essential resources to care for the child, and ethical dilemmas concerning abortions. As our population continues to grow, preventing unwanted pregnancies is a necessary means in ensure we continue to have adequate, accessible resources.

There are many ways to prevent unplanned pregnancy, and I’m sure you already know about many of them. In fact, over 60% of women at reproductive age in the United State are currently using some form of contraceptive.

As I teach 9th graders in their health classes, if someone chooses to have sex, using condoms correctly and consistently will not only reduce the risk of giving or getting STIs, but it will also protect against unwanted pregnancy. But there is a plethora of other methods and combinations of methods that protect against unwanted pregnancy. Everyone knows about the pill, sterilization for both females and males, and IUDs, but there is another method that is growing in popularity.

Imagine this: no more birth control alarms going off in the middle of class, no more living in fear that you forgot to take the pill before leaving home for the day, and no more dealing with messy IUDs or Nuva rings. If life without the aforementioned hassles seems ideal, there is another highly effective method that may be right for you. The implant method consists of a rod inserted into your upper arm, known under the brand names of Implanon or Nexplanon. According to Bedsider, the implant is inserted into your upper arm under your skin, and unlike other implanted devices like pacemakers, the rod can usually not be seen. This method can effectively interfere with your ovaries egg production for up to three years. It additionally blocks sperms from even getting close to a potential egg through thickening the mucus membrane ( ).

With any birth control method, there are risks that accompany the benefits. Although the implant is over 99% effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies, it does not protect against giving or getting STIs as a condom would. However, condoms used in conjunction with the implant increases not only STI protection but also pregnancy protection.

Like other birth control methods, there are potential side effects that accompany the implant method and certain activities that can increase the risk of these side effects. Yet risking a few zits and gaining a couple pounds seems doable if it means their likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy is drastically reduced.

Of course different birth control options are better for different women and at different times in life. The important message is that women have the choice to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies and have many different options.

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