Every day young adults make the mistake of having unprotected sex, leading to unwanted pregnancy at the very least.
In 1974, Canadian Professor A. Albert Yuzpe published the first studies of a safe method in preventing pregnancy after intercourse, that being two doses of pills that combine estrogen and certain progestin hormones. This became known as the Yuzpe regime. In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration declared emergency contraception to be safe and effective for use in the United States.
Today, we know this method as the “morning after pill,” or emergency contraception, the correct medical terminology. Emergency contraception is a high dosage of the oral contraceptives containing estrogen and progestin.
According to a study by Palomar College in California, 80 percent of all college students are sexually active and 12 percent have unexpected pregnancies.
With such statistics, what are colleges and universities doing to help such students in this predicament?
At Quinnipiac, emergency contraception is available through Student Health Services. In order to receive this pill students must follow a certain procedure.
They must first issue a consent form and review their medical history with a nurse. They must then take a urine pregnancy test and get their blood pressure taken. They must also schedule an appointment with the university’s gynecologist, watch a video, fill out forms and then pay a fee of $50 for the above mentioned procedures.
After completion of these things, the pills are given to the student, who must come back four to six weeks later for a repeat pregnancy test. The male partners do not have to go down to the Student Health Services with the women, and can chose to remain anonymous. The parents do not have to be contacted, unless the patient fails to go back for follow-up visits.
Why is the procedure so thorough?
” People should not take this lightly,” said Kathryn Macaione, director of Student Health Services.
According to Student Health Services, they have been providing the pill for five years and have been contacted by students with situations approximately 13 times since August, 2002.
“I think it is a good idea to have the morning after pill on campus, because a girl should have quick access to alter a life-changing event,” said sophomore Kerry Fitzpatrick.
Junior Brock Marini agrees.
“I think it is a good idea, because the pill prevents guys and girls from being parents at such a young age,” he said.
Some students feel the pill should be easily accessible, because it is supposed to be used in the case of an emergency.
“The idea of having the pill quickly available on campus is a good idea,” said sophomore Vincent Gallo. “Girls do not have to go looking for it.”
Studies show that it was recommended that the first dose of this contraceptive be taken after sexual intercourse over a period of 72 hours and the second dose 12 hours later, which will prevent pregnancy from occurring. The pill, however, will not terminate a pregnancy that is already in effect and it will not harm the developing fetus.
There are three ways the pill will work and prevent pregnancy. Ovulation is inhibited, where the egg from a woman will not be released. The second way is that the pill will alter the normal menstrual cycle, delaying ovulation. The pill can work and also irritate the lining of the uterus so that the egg can not attach itself onto the uterus and begin to grow.
There are side effects to taking the pill. One could experience nausea, vomiting, infertility, breast tenderness and blood clot formation.
Preventing pregnancy through other forms of contraception is recommended, yet many students feel comfortable knowing there is an emergency solution to unwanted pregnancies.