What’s the greenest, safest, healthiest, most affordable (okay, best) form of Birth Control?

Via Waylon Lewis
on Aug 24, 2010
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I posted the below note to my Facebook Wall.

“Huff Post: IUD is greenest, safest form of birth control. http://huff.to/bLjKBx

And this happened:

Jennifer E > Disagree. Fertility Awareness Method in my book (see Persona)

Valerie > Pretty much, yup.
Sadly the FDA here in America only allows for a few types of IUD and virtually no difference between them. Europe, where it’s the most popular form of BC, has something crazy like 18 different kinds and sizes, over here …it’s a basic MEDIUM. We need to change that.

Melanie > seems great.. but then i would become a real robot.. I’d have copper in my body!!

Waylon Lewis > Nothing wrong with copper, right? I was told it’s actually healthy at least as a bracelet, where it bleeds into your wrist.

Valerie > There are other things they can use to hinder implantation if you’re allergic to copper 🙂

Jennifer Jones Hunt > I agree with Jennifer E: FAM is the the safest and greenest—just a lot more work and has the potential to be less effective.

You couldn’t pay me enough to put a piece of metal in my uterus.

Melanie > how does FAM work? And copper seems not so bad.

Waylon Lewis > But JJH, plastic bad! And condoms aren’t compostable? We trash our world, we trash mother nature, we trash ourselves? IUDs are supposedly really safe from what little I’ve read about them thus far. I want to do articolo on this, so keep the comments, facts and experiences and recommendations coming. With thanks–

Jennifer Jones Hunt > ‎@Melanie – FAM: temperature taking, charting, learning your body’s natural cycles. It gets easier with time but is a lot of work at first.

Jennifer Jones Hunt > I completely agree, Waylon. Condoms are bad. I had a really hard time trying to find a BC that I felt okay using—keeping mother earth and my body in mind. After much research FAM was the only option that worked for me ally. Now, considering I’m pregnant again with a wonderful ‘surprise’, if FAM isn’t done properly, it is not at all effective 🙂

Abigail > Talk to some of the women who got PID from IUD.

Kezia > ‎”After much research FAM was the only option that worked for me ally. Now, considering I’m pregnant again with a wonderful ‘surprise’, if FAM isn’t done properly, it is not at all effective :)” <— if that doesn’t steer you away from “FAM” as birth control, what will?

Melanie > Check this.

Kezia > And where is sterilization on that list? Oughtn’t that to be number one?

Jennifer Jones Hunt ‎> @Kezia: I openly admitted to not doing FAM properly. If you don’t take your pills on time everyday you will have the same result…as with not putting in your diaphragm in a certain amount of time before intercourse. I didn’t say it wasn’t effective if used properly.

Valerie > We can’t get Americans to brush their freakin’ teeth, there’s NO WAY we’re going to get them to take their temps, etc etc and follow FAM the way it’s supposed to be followed. Please regard above comment about baby on the way, which is adorable, but the exact reason why FAM isn’t the greenest. What takes up more energy? An accidental child or a strip of copper? how about an accidental child or a piece of leftover latex? this is a large scale issue, we need a solution that works for everyone, FAM is not for everyone. And guess what, I use it. I still wouldn’t recommend it to the masses.

Hell yes to sterilization, Kezia, it IS the truest form of green! maybe a vasectomy would be next, MEN!

Jennifer Jones Hunt > No, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to the masses but that wasn’t the question. So, going back to the original question, I would consider it the greenest and safest IF done properly.

Valerie > ‎@Abigail- There’s a higher rate of PID in women who use no birth control than in IUD users. and IUD’s don’t cause PID, STDs do and unclean conditions during insertion.

Mathew Gerson >Way, latex condoms indeed are 100% Biodegradable! You did the interview with me on it. In order to breakdown properly they need to end up in a landfill to compost and not our waterways…so never flush them.

Valerie > I assumed “green” applied to our species as a whole and not just individuals, that’s where I’m coming from.

There’s little room for mess up with an IUD, as with pills, shots or FAM there’s no denying that.

Valerie > I thought so @ Mathew. latex is natural, right? And while you’re at it, buy Sir Richard’s condoms! 🙂

Holly > I’m with Kezia and Valerie, sterilization is pretty effective, and, a one shot deal – then taking the leap to having no kids is really affecting your environmental impact.

Then again, if I get hung up about how green my birth control is—it might be enough for me to abstain altogether.

Waylon Lewis > Mathew, my understanding (from you, I thought) was that your Sir Richard’s condoms will be biodegradable (not compostable!), which is awesome. But that conventional condoms have other crap on them, which makes them not just latex? Enlighten me brother. Are conventional condoms just latex? And is that latex mindfully sourced?

birth control

Jennifer Jones Hunt > Valerie, we all individually do our part to be green, right… I see it on an individual level. I cloth diaper but I also wouldn’t recommend that to the masses because it can cause major health issues if not done properly. We are in agreement about the amount of dedication necessary to make FAM effective.

Valerie > ‎@ Jennifer- And I’m glad to see we’re choosing FAM as a serious option. I haven’t had any form of BC in my body, or on my body for over 10 years and I know it can work. I also know plenty of friends that would end up knocked up because …they’re so out of whack with their cycle so we have to have something effective and pretty green to offer them. ANYTHING BUT THE PILLLLLLLLLLL!!!! It served its purpose, hell yeah!, but we know pumping that many hormones into our waterways is having negative effects on our environment and possibly our species.
Good luck with your new one on the way!

Lauren > I haven’t checked the accuracy of the data on this link. But I do know of one who experienced uterine puncture with an iud, and another who experienced a reaction to the copper.

Mathew Gerson > Sorry, I was likening “compostable” to “biodegradable”, in the sense that the condoms are made of organic bio-mass (natural latex) that under the proper conditions will break down into its constituent parts and be integrated back into the …watershed.
Most condoms, including Sir Richard’s, have Silicon based lubricant (helps prevent breakage and skin lesions) added to them. Silicon is made by combining Silica + Coke.
Some condoms have nonoxynol 9 added to them which is a chemical that is known to have a host of negative side effects and to the best of my knowledge is not biodegradable. (Sir Richard’s does not contain it)
Hope that answers your questions!

Valerie > nonoxynol 9 is no fun.

Anna Brones > Seems to me like choosing any form of birth control is “green” since it means you’re consciously choosing to not procreate. Anyone done any studies of environmental impact of using various form of BC over a certain period of time versus the impact of a human being?

Jennifer Jones Hunt > Valerie – Yes, absolutely! I’m in complete agreement with you. I used FAM in order to get pregnant with my 2 boys and used it for another 3 years as BC. Just guessing when you ovulate doesn’t cut it, so women need to have another healthy and green option if they can’t dedicate the energy and time. The pill is the worst in my book, as well. Thank you for your well wishes, dear!

Waylon Lewis > Anna, I personally am not sure about the whole “human beings aren’t green, being dead is green” logic. We have the power to be of benefit. Life is precious. Green isn’t about not living. It’s about being responsible, learning, waking up and celebrating life in all its ordinary magic. That said, you’re right—most of us “First Worlders” create a lot of suffering and waste without hardly thinking about it.

Anna Brones > Waylon, I agree with you. In fact I think when we start getting into the “nitty gritty” of things — like which form of BC makes you more eco friendly — we lose sight of the bigger picture, which is making sure that we live balanced, conscious lifestyles. At the end of the day, we all have al choices to make. For some that means having children. For others it doesn’t.

It’s easy for us to get hung up on the little things, because if someone tells us that a certain product is more environmentally friendly we feel empowered to buy it. And although we can certainly vote with our pocket book, it’s not because you buy eco dishwashing detergent that you’re going to save the world. We need to be empowered to engage in a larger, broader conversation.

Valerie > The little things add up, too. To deny that is to deny us any power right now to make a positive change. I would argue policy change is great, of course, but every day choices are the first step to a society shifting. We need to pay attention right now to how we live because we’re undoing a lot of bad decisions from the past. This even includes what kind of BC is the best for us and for the environment. If you don’t do both at this junction, you might as well sit on your hands or pick your nose. We’ve been doing that long enough.

Jennifer Jones Hunt > Anna, we are all an army of one. It would be nice for humanity as a whole to step up and make massive global changes to help the environment, however, that kind of shift doesn’t happen overnight and without many small steps. In my opinion, it is the small things that count… Replacing paper towels in your home with reusable cloth towels, walking instead if driving whenever possible, using Eco-friendly products. Any little step that you can take makes a difference and acts as an example to other to do the same thing. If everyone said what that these little efforts aren’t worth it and stops making them, we would be in MUCH worse shape… On the contrary, if everyone did even just one small part a day, think of the impact. We do need to concentrate on the small things because they really do make a difference. It’s nice that you dream big but the reality is that it takes baby steps. The bigger picture is affected by our individual choices.

Carolyn > May I suggest not using it before you’ve had a child. Otherwise it is VERY painful.

Waylon Lewis > Jennifer, Anna, if I may, and as you well know, you’re both right. As they say in Buddhist language, we must join “heaven” (vision, big ideas) with “earth” (actual action, specific “small” steps).

Waylon Lewis > Okay, any last thoughts or suggestions or advice? I’m gonna write up green birth control article tomorrow.

Anna Brones > Jennifer, Waylon: yes, yes and yes. I’m not saying the small decisions matter. They definitely do.

I’m just saying that very often we get caught up focusing on the small decisions that we lose track of the bigger picture. Just because I ride my bike everyday doesn’t make me an eco warrior and doesn’t mean that I can’t always do more. The worst al decision we can make is to become self congratulatory and complacent.

Jennifer Jones Hunt > Waylon, I don’t know if you want to go in this direction but I’ve recently read that the hormones in the pill not used by the body are expelled in urine and are, like most pharmaceuticals in our sewage, make their way back into our food and water supply.

Valerie > Jennifer, they definitely do!

So does Miracle Grow which is chocked full of synthetic estrogen and horrible for the environment (and made by Monsanto) grrr

Jennifer Jones Hunt > Valerie – I was shocked when I read that about the pill and other pharmaceuticals…and I had no idea about Miracle Grow. That is when I seriously stopped trusting our water supply. I also challenge women who have been on the pill for years to stop and try a different form of BC…they will be absolutely blown away at how much better they feel physically and emotionally.

Valerie > That’s exactly why I stopped taking it, I never felt right, always bloated and then, weirdly, I lost interest in sex. freakin’ pill! what’s the point of taking it if you don’t want to have sex? right?? haha and we haven’t mentioned the link between smoking, taking the pill and blood clots, heart attacks and cancer. there’s so many reasons to avoid popping that thing!

Elaine > IUD birth control is not for everyone. I became ill after using one. Women need to consider their own health and options, and not be swayed by external pressures, such as: This is the greenest option. Women need to pick something because: This is the best option.

Waylon Lewis Amen, Elaine. Green in this context includes healthy, of course. So what are you recommending?

Elaine > Aha! Thanks for asking. I’m not a doctor, but IMHO, I like the condom for disease protection. And if you’re in a stable, committed relationship, there are lots of choices for the pill. For women who have painful menstrual and premenstrual experience, it can be a real relief. Some birth control pills use less hormones too. They even have a female condom. They promote this in Africa for protection against AIDS. BTW, I’m really interested to read Freedom by Johnathan Franzen on the topic of over population and how we pretend it’s not there. I could go on, but I’ll spare you the rest of my diverging tangents:)

Mathew Gerson > Good article on IUD’s in todays NYT’s.

Waylon Lewis Thanks for that! What auspicious timing. Now I don’t have to write anything—their article is so well done.

Elizabeth > What about vasectomies? Safe and “green”. Though admittedly less reversible, this fact may make them even greener, in a way. It’s always irked me that so much of the responsibility for birth control falls on women’s shoulders and, like an IUD and pills, can be creepy, painful and/or sickening. It would be so nice if guys had more options besides condoms (super-temporary) and a vasectomy (fairly permanent). Is there anything effective besides these that I should know about?

Elaine > It falls on a woman’s shoulders because the consequences fall mainly on the woman. True a man has a moral, legal, and genetic responsibility for the children he fathers, but…the woman holds the baby or decides to have an abortion.

Heather > I’m a big FAN and it’s the best method I’ve ever used but….we women still undergo some “unfortunate” side effects using the non-hormonal IUD. Just another reason you MEN should worship us in every way, every day!

Waylon Lewis > Great question, Elizabeth. I don’t know of anything except the ol’pull out at the last second move, which of course is infallible.

Jarod > I prefer the ‘pull-out and pray’ method…verrry “Green”—nothing to throw away after (hopefully)…

Elaine > I rest my case.

Mathew Gerson Glad you are going to cover the topic, Waylon. It would be important to mention the importance of getting tested with every new partner you are with, especially for the cavalier serial daters who are not wearing condoms. (You know who you are)

Kayla > I used FAM for three years in my LTR and it worked perfectly. I’d temp, chart and take ovulation tests. The three times I tried BC pills, they made me emotionally nuts, when I am naturally a very balanced and happy . I also gained weight, and felt crappy (bloating, cramps) when I normally have no issues with that. There was a nagging feeling that I wasn’t myself! And I had to wait several months after I stopped them to feel like me again and it took my body just as long to function naturally again. I have an athletic, non-smoking friend who had a stroke while on bc pills. I was an IUD baby, but I guess the IUD was less effective in the 80’s. Regardless, mom had used an IUD for 15 years with no problem, but I am here! (and very glad that I am) She said that when she got pregnant with me, the IUD should have been the most effective. I guess it’s not as effective during the beginning and end of of its “shelf life.”


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


48 Responses to “What’s the greenest, safest, healthiest, most affordable (okay, best) form of Birth Control?”

  1. Aron Stein says:

    Reading this alone was good birth control. Bejesus. I want a vasectomy now.

  2. Mike says:

    The risks of birth control pills scare me, and the rest, too. So I had a vasectomy. Having 3 children already was a pretty darn good form of birth control, too.

  3. *K* says:

    I would love love love to see more articles like this! I quit using hormonal bc about four years ago due to some health issues (I'm talking thyroid problems, lymphatic problems, stuff that didn't even make sense) that couldn't be ruled out as being caused by anything else, and as a last ditch effort my doctor advised me to stop taking a bc pill I had started around the same time the issues started (it was seasonale, in case anyone is interested, which in retrospect, yeah, I know – inherently bad idea). The health issues (including nodules on my thyroid that were visible on two different CT scans I had) disappeared within a month and haven't returned since. The experience spawned an intense interest in this topic for me. I will never use the pill again.

    Oh, as an aside, I'm also allergic to adhesive (rules out the patch) and latex (no latex condoms) as well as spermicide, so birth control has been tricky for me, to say the least. I've been using FAM for about three years now and knock on wood, it's worked so far. However, as pointed out above, the effort that is required makes me think it might not be the best solution for "the masses." I also really think you have to be in a situation where you are truly "okay" with the result (whatever that is for you) should you accidentally become pregnant, or else the stress of that potentiality can make it even more difficult to stick with. I talked to my doc a few years ago about the IUD but it's my understanding they're pretty painful if you haven't had a child previously, and also that the non-hormonal ones are actually more likely to cause side effects than the ones with hormones! I decided it just wasn't worth it, especially since I would like to have children in the next 2-3 years.

    I think it's a sad commentary on society that we don't have any more options to offer than we do. We're all over high-tech warfare, but can't come up with an easy way to prevent conception without wrecking women's bodies in the process?! Sigh…

  4. AMO says:

    The photo in the first frame is content from http://www.thathipsterporn.com
    Hopefully used with permission.
    A great site…

  5. AMO says:

    No better choice did I EVER make in my life, EVER than sterilization.
    No babies. No way. No how. No drugs. Nothing to insert, change, worry about, done and done…

  6. ncmaru says:

    Definitely agree with practicing FAM. I and my husband used it for many years since I cannot use any type of hormonal BC. We did have a surprise a few of years ago when I was 40, so I had the Paragard (copper IUD) put in, but it became lodged and I had it removed. In theory, I thought it would be great to have reliable BC that lasted until I was officially menopausal. I’m back to FAM, but it dictates a certain amount of diligence to be successful.

  7. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks, Annie, that's why it's linked if you click the photo.

    We love that site: it's featured on our blog roll, and have done several adulatory blogs about 'em. We send 'em a fair amount of traffic, and are happy to do so. BTW, as you know if you know that site, a tumblr site, that image was almost certainly reposted, and not original to thathipsterporn.

  8. elephantjournal says:

    via http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal

    Nye: not to have sex

    Nuray: agreed, there are no side effects of that, maybe a little lust but that's it.

    Jessica: Being gay works well and is free and environmentally friendly. 🙂

    Annie: The photo above is original content from http://www.thathipsterporn.com/
    hopefully reprinted with permission and thanks…

    Not having babies is greener than ANY form of birth control.
    Sterilization of MEN is the greenest form of birth control, sterilization of women being 2nd greenest.
    All the hippies who suggest "natural" temperature taking, pulling out, avoidi…ng sex during the most fertile days are not suggesting anything that most normal humans can use effectively over long periods of time and really, who would want to…?See More

    Such a personal thing, the article very nicely concluded with this- that these decisions must be weighed ,then made incividually. For me, I had a downright lovely experience with 8 years of IUD protection but for my son' father, it was (on…ce he was old enough) a vasectomy (had to wait until he was 25- ridiculous). Also GLAD that it was mentioned that birth control is not just a woman's responsibility AND sad 🙁 that vasectomy wasn't talked about more in-depth as there are a variety of types ranging in regards to how temporary & how effective.
    As for abstinence? Hmm. Again, very individual but IMO, not very healthy for most.See More

    Judy: celibacy…abstinence….

    Barbara: All I know is that I am too sleepy and didn't read the whole article…but the picture of the little boys ..ooh scarey… I'd keep my legs crossed on the next few dates until the image faded…..at least….

    Ashley: Its kind of hard when you are married and dont want kids to be abstinent or celibate. I know mine husband wont go for that.

    Cindy: As a WHNP I'm a big fan of the Paraguard IUD – the Mirena has much more (unnecessary) packaging and hormones. I'm also a big fan of vasectomies. NFP works for some but not for most. I agree that an unplanned child would be the least green option. Healthy sexual expression is an important part of most peoples lives so reliable contraception is very important. It is also important so that women can maintain control and live the life they choose to live.

    River: One of my favorite bumper stickers read: Vasectomies Prevent Abortion

    elephantjournal.com Annie, it's not original content on thathipsterporn, it's reposted, it's a tumblr site. And you likely know it's from that site, I assume, because we linked to it in the above post like good boys and girls. We try to always link to our sources. We know thathipsterporn a bit, have done several adulatory blogs on them, they've been in touch with us.

  9. K.O. says:

    Back in the day we used condoms and diaphragm b.k. (before kids). After two children my husband decided to go the vasectomy route. Our health insurance even covered it! It pays to read your policy as some will cover vasectomy. I was always a little wary of the family planning method since we're told sperm have a life span of quite a few days…

  10. Meg B says:

    I have the copper IUD and I could not be happier with it. It is the BEST birth control I've ever used. TMI, but condoms made me get yeast infections, the Pill made me insane (literally) and long-term use of Depo Provera caused horrific bone problems. For me, copper IUD is the only birth control I'll ever use!

  11. Valerie says:

    Ensure – it’s permanent but no hormones, no surgery. It is a spring that is inserted in the fallopian tube that causes scar tissue to form around it blocking an travelling cells (eggs down and sperm up) from passing. Great for those who have completed their family.

  12. […] The majority of our population doesn’t really find non-monogamy appropriate no matter its label (open relationship, polyamory, etc.) these people generally seem to think that those who are open are promiscuous amoral sluts with STDs. But, there is a right way to be a proper ethical slut, (and even a guide book for those who want more info); part of it includes always using protection and not screwing every person you meet. People who are out doing everyone wi… […]

  13. […] *Always practice safer sex: try Vegan Condoms For STD and pregnancy protection try vegan condoms instead of latex or sheep skin (for those who are allergic to latex or just prefer sheep skin remember that it only protects against pregnancy and not STDs). […]

  14. […] sexually attractive beings…and yet these scientists haven’t done much of anything to improve birth control to make it safer, more effective, and healthier for us and the entire planet. But that’s okay, cause […]

  15. […] of the spectrum from condoms, the only effects of the intrauterine device will be on the user. A previous post on elephant journal discusses this method in […]

  16. […] IUD‘s tend to be the greenest form of birth control, but using condoms can help the planet as well. The trick is to use the right ones. […]

  17. strongropes says:

    Temperature PLUS fertile mucus awareness works really well. All birth control works really well if it's done properly. Great book "Your Fertility Signals" http://www.amazon.com/Your-Fertility-Signals-Preg

  18. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I’m inspired! Very helpful information specially the last part 🙂 I deal with such information a lot. I used to be looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  19. boulderwind says:

    I had a copper IUD for 6 years before it failed me and I had an ectopic pregnancy. Also as I was getting deeper into my yoga practice I was more aware of the IUD in certain asanas – it sort of "pinched" me… but before I was very flexible it was no problem… eventually my husband and I decided to have a baby so we stopped birth control and then after I had our baby, he had a vasectomy which is THE BEST form of birth control EVAHHHH!

    I also want to add that the IUD will not protect you from STD's if you and your partner are not in a monogamous relationship. So an IUD would work better for those who are monogamous but if you or your partner are not, better stick to condoms.

  20. tatumann says:

    Oh dear. I've come to several conclusions while reading this.
    1. Your facebook friends are awesome.
    2. I try to do good, but I'm significantly less "green" than I realized as I never even considered that my bc needed to be greener.
    3. I don't think I'm getting enough action to destroy the planet with the condoms I'm going through (and now I'm sad about that)
    4. I'm overwhelmed with information that I didn't realize that I needed.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  21. Roo says:

    I had an IUD and as birth control it was awesome. No thoughts, no worries. I could feel it from time to time in yoga. My body sadly didn't take well to it and I became dangerously anemic which I am still dealing with one year later. In retrospect the health problems this has caused (heart palpitations, lethargy, weight gain, complete loss of sex drive) made it not worth it for me at all. I wish i hadn't done it. No one knows why I reacted so badly to it. I bled and bled and bled some more. They just kept saying it would lighten up with time. I waited too long.

  22. Anna says:

    The Birth Control Comuter – PERLY or LADY COMP is the best, its the most easy way to use FAM, ince it does the planning for you. Its not the cheepest but in relation to what pills and other things cost in the long run, this is a one time cost and then you can use it all your life, and its a computer made of plastic, but it lasts for life is you take care of it and its really reliable. Everywoman should have one. http://www.raxmedical.com/pearly.php

  23. Emma Blue says:

    A copper IUD basically gives you an abortion repeatedly. BAD KARMA

  24. Annie T. says:

    I’ve used the IUD for quite awhile. It’s a no-brainer. Just remember to protect against STDs w/a condom [and review how to use it properly].

    Signs/Symptoms of PID are possible w/Tubal Ligation as well. It’s an invasive procedure – with all the concomitant issues that can follow…

    Research and find what works best for your lifestyle! You can take charge of you fertility.

    Annie T.

    Nurse Practitioner Grad Student

  25. […] leads me to the recent debate that has flooded the media –– contraception. When we highlight archaic discussions in modern times, it appears as though we’re taking two […]

  26. Rebecca says:

    That is absolutely, undeniably, scientifically flat wrong.

  27. […] Not sold, you crazy kid? Here are the other best, “greenest,” safest forms of birth control. […]

  28. […] Stay Safe. And Get Tested. […]

  29. Rebecca says:

    I have heard that excess copper can lead to organ cancers…. My mother in law who just went through chemo/avastin treatments for the last 1.5 years with cervical cancer found that she had excess amounts of copper in the spring that feeds into their tap. Just sayin' I wouldn't put a copper IUD in after hearing that.

  30. Sarah M. says:

    After being on the pill for ten years, my doctor suddenly recommended I try a hormone-free birth control method. This recommendation was based on my family history of breast cancer. I had not thought much about how the hormones had been affecting my body all of those years, not had I thought about how it might affect my risk of getting breast cancer. Basically, I wasn’t thinking about anything else except preventing pregnancy!

    I turned to the copper IUD two years ago. I love it, and with a shelf life of ten years, I wish I had known about it earlier. My periods are back full on, along with cramps that I totally forgot existed during a period. But then again, I think I am closer to what my usual, natural cycle would feel like. Somehow, my cycle is in sync with the moon’s cycle, which never ceases to amaze me. That never happened when I was on the pill! When I first got it inserted, my partner could feel the fish-line like threads, but then my doc trimmed ’em, and we were all good!

    Bottom line, while I love the IUD, I don’t think there is an ideal form of birth control out there. I’m still waiting for a hormone-free, green, no-brainer, highly effective form of BC. Until then, I’m going Abe Lincoln penny- style!

  31. kris says:

    No one here has mentioned using the Lady Comp. I myself have only used FAM, but know many people who have used the Lady Comp for YEARS with not one unplanned pregnancy. It is 99.3% effective. Eventually I am planning on purchasing one (you can get it on Amazon).
    There is a lot that plays in to becoming pregnant and it can vary from month to month. I have been lucky to have never gotten pregnant by using charting and the withdrawal method on 'unsafe' days for four years straight. I'm unsure if this is because 1. It works (so much contradicting info on withdrawal..but I've used it on my fertile days and never gotten pregnant). 2. I've just been lucky 3. I have fertility issues (don't believe I do as I have confirmed ovulation). but…never been pregnant yet and as the years go on I trust my body and its signals more and more. Still, it is scary to just go with trusting yourself-much 'easier' to take a pill or have an IUD and know for sure that you are protected.

    I would love to get an IUD but have heard too many horror stories, and my body is extremely sensitive (rejected all my piercings) so I'm sure it would reject an IUD as well. Also have heard that the copper in your body can have adverse effects and cause imbalances….

    From all I've read I feel FAM and the Lady Comp are as good as it gets for BC.

  32. JadyGirl says:

    After 17 years on the pill, and then having one child, I’m a copper IUD user. After going off the pill and then getting back on, I realized the hormones make me crazy. Wish I would have known that when I was single and in my 20s, LOL! So I went for the copper IUD. But the cramping was excruciating for the first 3-4 months. I stuck it out, but I still get cramps with deep yoga twisting, etc. I haven’t really been able to find any good info re: the side effects of the copper IUD, does anyone have any suggestions?

    I guess for me, the intermittent pain is better than the side effects on my psyche from the pill.

  33. Tegan says:

    Main side effect of copper in the body is its effect on zinc levels. It can decrease your body’s utilization of zinc in turn impacting immunity, hormone production, etc. A naturopath or holistically minded doctor can check your zinc levels to see if this is an issue for you.

  34. Bethany says:

    I've looked into the copper IUD, and I found many of the testimonials to be potentially dangerous. A piece of copper is NOT supposed to be in your uterus. For me, what is the greenest, safest, healthiest, best form of birth control? This is for the men; separate your ejaculation from your orgasm. Check out Mantak Chia's work; it is an ancient Taoist sexual technique, and in this way it is literally impossible to become pregnant, and men retain the energy and power within their semen that recycles again throughout their body. It is really fascinating and beneficial for men. Now, I'm not a man but I have been dating a man for years that does this, and I haven't become pregnant. Awareness is extremely important, and on my end I keep track of ovulation dates, etc.

  35. Keyla says:

    I have used both mirena and copper- strictly at the beginning for severe menstrual issues, including cramps so bad I would pass out. As an athlete this just wasn’t acceptable and it was ruining my life. The copper exacerbated my symptoms, the Mirena (which includes hormones- I know- heaters gonna hate) completely changed my life for the better. I can actually function as a human being- very reliable, and zero problems with implantation (which is actually quite rare).

  36. Fedra says:

    The amount of copper that it’s delivered in the body by this “green bc” it’s actually causing cancer and other disease. Copper is good but like everything in nature it depends on the quantity and the molecular structure of the substance. So be carefull.

  37. Stef says:

    As a naturopath in Aus, I've seen so many poor women suffer badly with the side effects – more so for the marina, I don't know much about a copper IUD, not even sure if it's available here, though excessive amounts of copper is definitely toxic. I find that the women suffer from vomiting, constant nausea, bloating, uncontrollable weight gain and sometimes even flooding with breakthrough periods. They are all told to "stick it out" for the first few months. This, holistically speaking, is kind of like forcing your body to accept something it obviously rejects, and after that 2 – 3 month period their immune system becomes depleted from attacking the foreign object it switches the other way and starts overcompensating, which is why people end up with autoimmune conditions! Would NOT recommend any form of synthetic oestrogen therapy at all. Not to mention the long term increased effects of all sorts of oestrogenic cancers. Any form of contraception would be better than this!

  38. Scarlett says:

    I had the copper IUD for years–and it descended (did you know they only have ONE size of the thing—as if all uteruses are the same size!). Anyway, I tried BC (the ring and the pill) both had side effects that I did not like (i.e. depression on the ring, migraines on the pill) so I did some researching. I was big on the FAM for awhile, but then got irritated with having to track my body temperature every day (and you're supposed to do it a the same time).

    Long story short—I did some MORE research and now use a diaphragm (yes, very old school–but it's washable and reusable–and more fool proof than other barrier methods) and found an all natural and effective spermicide (Contragel) to use with it. Which, when used with the diaphragm, and used correctly has a really high efficacy rate (somewhere in the 90s (percent). My bf also pulls out, and I keep track of my cycle with PinkPad (iPhone app) which helps me to know when I'm more fertile and when to be more diligent about having my bf pull out along with using the diaphragm/natural spermicide.

    By the way–the spermicide cannot be purchased in the U.S.–I have it shipped in from Canada (it's approved for use there, but go figure, not in the U.S.). It's expensive to pay for shipping, and the spermicide does have an expiration date–so plan well as to how much you will use—and maybe buy several tubes at once (have another friend who want to buy some purchase with you)?

    Finally, if you're not in a monogamous relationship—you still need to practice safe sex, y'all. There is some BAD stuff out there—and don't be fooled that you won't catch it. Be smart and use condoms. Not ideal for the environment, but if you want to not put that waste out there—then get tested, have your partner get tested, and wait to have intercourse until you're committed. Duh.

  39. I've used the diaphragm for about 7 years now and LOVE it! It's completely green, totally reliable, and no hormones or adverse side effects!! Buy it once for about $30 and use it for years! Why would we choose anything else?… Maybe because I had to seriously search to find this method. No one talks about it, doctors don't offer it, and I still don't know why. It is the best: greenest, safest, healthiest, most affordable! Check it out, ladies. And while you're being green, check out the diva cup. 🙂

  40. chaela says:

    I’m surprised there’s so little talk about the diaphragm. I’d compare it to a reusable water bottle but for sex. I was totally turned off by the IUD when my dr told me it could “latch to and penetrate my uterine wall” and possibly ruin my chances of having children when I’m ready. Not to mention the toll synthetic hormones took on my mood, body, sex drive, etc. I’m with Kate Williams. Noone talks about the diaphragm, maybe because it doesn’t make pharmaceutical companies much money. After using the diaphragm I will never use anything else!

  41. Maya says:

    Birth control is one thing. Very important, yes. But so is protecting oneself & others against STI’s. IUD’s don’t do that.

  42. lma says:

    wild carrot seed worked for me.

  43. rebecca says:

    Not mentioned here is the form of birth control FOR MEN that has been around for a while with virtually no side effects but not available in north America…I can’t remember the name offhand, but Google it and you will find it. No hormones, virtually no side effectS…of course that means no profit for big pharma hence why we can’t obtain it here 🙁 also, very green

  44. coalescentmedic says:

    I had a copper IUD for two years. It was GREAT until I got pregnant. The pregnancy was ectopic (implanted outside the uterus) and ruptured. I required emergency surgery and almost died from internal bleeding. They were able to save my ovary but I am now missing my right Fallopian tube. Even if you have an IUD, you should STILL use condoms as a backup. I almost lost my life because of this method. No method 100% effective, even if used properly. The ONLY way to guarantee you will not become pregnant is to not have sex.

  45. chica says:

    FAM is what got me pregnant. Too easy to screw up, and takes too long to "figure out" what works best for your body & cycles…before I even had time to figure it out, I was pregnant. Love my IUD, and if it's not green oh well…at least I am trying to be green in many other places in my life. Not having another child is way more important to me than getting "green" birth control.

    Also, this is really hard to read if you're as ADD as I am. I was all over the place…lol…

  46. Sophia says:

    I had the copper IUD for 7 years- it seemed convenient since I couldn’t do hormonal birth control, but it made my periods extremely heavy (9 days of bleeding per month- that’s bleeding A THIRD OF THE TIME), totally anemic, and I believe I have some remnant copper toxicity since taking it out a year ago. Do NOT recommend. FAM all the way.

  47. Marie says:

    I never post comments on the web… And I mean never- this is my first one because I just have too. I got the copper IUD in hopes to get off birth control because I didn’t want any added hormones. I had been having imbalanced hormones for years so I decided to get a copper IUD. Big mistake. I started having insane periods where I would bleed horribly through my sheets, have to change my tampon every 1 1/2 hours. I also started breaking out horribly. All of this was happening at age 23. Every doctor told me it was fine, the IUD wasn’t breaking me out. Then I went to a holistic Gyno and we researched copper IUD and breakouts and so much information came up! I got it taken out and everything Started to regulate. Needless to say I know the IUD works great for some people but for others it causes a lot of issues that doctors don’t acknowledge.

  48. @ShawnAcosta says:

    Birth Control Pill? Got pregnant (love my daughter)
    Condom? Got pregnant (love my son)
    Thought about sterilization after 2 kids, but doctor said I was too young. It was a blessing because…
    After an IUD for 11 years, I was pregnant with a planned child (another son!) the first month after removal.
    Bottom Line? It's a personal choice and lots of research to make the right decision for YOU.
    Be educated, be informed.