In this Family Planning-Themed edition of the Meta-Report:
Family Timing among Gen Xers;Pills Gone Wild; andThe Adventures of Fertile Myrtle and the Family Planning...Beads?
Now, in very disturbing news from this week, there has been a rather large voluntary recall of as many as twelve different types of birth control pills manufactured by the company Qualitest Pharmaceuticals. In what is being called a "packaging error," pills were placed in the wrong slots in a total of 1.4 million contraceptive pill packages sold to customers since last year, meaning women using this form of birth control could be at risk for unwanted pregnancy.
Family Timing among Gen Xers
The Juggle blog on the Wall Street Journal site had an interesting discussion going on this week about work-life balance and timing the choice to start a family. The article cites a recent study by the Center for Work-Life Policy that finds an incredible 43% of Generation X women (currently ages 33-46) do not have children. Respondents cited demanding work schedules, lofty career aspirations, and the current economic climate as the primary reasons for their choice not to have children.
After reading the press release for the study, I would warn against drawing some of the conclusions I've seen from other sources regarding its results - primarily that these results are somehow indicative or representative of Generation X women, or all young women, as a whole. The investigators conducted focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and administered a survey to just under 3,000 men and women "in white collar occupations." While the combination of several data collection methods is admirable, the respondent group draws from only one subset of individuals in this generation - those with white collar jobs. Do you think this sampling method impacted the study results? How do you think the results might have changed if the researchers used a representative sample of Generation X individuals?
Pills Gone Wild
Of all the possible products that could be recalled this, to me, is one of the more troublesome, to say the least. I have to wonder what will happen if/when it's found that unwanted pregnancies did result from this major quality control oversight. What could this company possibly do to compensate women for the medical care and other expenses associated with children they didn't intend to have?
The Adventures of Fertile Myrtle and the Family Planning... Beads?Yes, that's right. Family Planning Beads.
A new study due to appear in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care has reported encouraging results from a family planning method developed by researchers at Georgetown University's Institute of Public Health - one that is based on the Fertility Awareness Method of family planning, and incorporates a set of color-coded beads representing each day of the menstrual cycle. Women who used the "Standard Days Method" for the three year study period showed high rates of satisfaction and efficacy in using the method; the method itself was found to have a failure rate comparable to that of condoms or a diaphragm (95% effective).
I have personally used the Fertility Awareness Method and found it to be a great alternative to the Pill or any other medication or birth control apparatus, although it can be a lot of work, depending on how detailed you want to get with the charting and monitoring of fertility signs. While the feedback from women in the study is positive, a 5% failure rate does seem pretty high, considering oral contraceptives can an efficacy rate of up to 99% and some change. My concern would be that those who use the Standard Days Method might place a little too much trust in it and forgo other methods of birth control. However, used in combination with other forms of contraceptive, it could prove to be a very useful tool for those seeking to avoid pregnancy. For those looking to plan a pregnancy, that point is moot, of course, and this method could be very helpful for them.
It appears that Georgetown University has been issued a patent for the "CycleBeads" and another company holds a license to sell the product commercially. What do you think about the Standard Days Method? Are the CycleBeads a product you would consider using?
Your Thoughts...?Please share your thoughts on the stories in this edition of Meta-Report. I'd love to hear from you!