Is The Pill Harmful?


Is the Pill Harmful?
Is the popular birth control method hurting you or your relationship?

In his book Understanding The Pill, author Greg Juhn points out that the quality control at generic pill production plants might be less, well, quality, than at name-brand factories, but the lack of outrage from women who've followed their pill regimen to a T and become pregnant speaks for itself in this case.

Rumor 2: "The Divorce Pill"
Meanwhile, a similarly outlandish news story that made headlines several years ago—calling the birth control pill "the divorce pill"—happens to have some, but not complete grounding in actual scientific findings.


Without going too deep into science specifics, a groundbreaking 1995 study conducted in Switzerland by a researcher named Claus Wedekind (who has since returned to studying animals—fish, to be exact) revealed women find the scents of men attractive when the man's immune system genes are most compatible with her own. Well-matched immune system or multi-histiology complex (MHC) genes make for healthy babies, and "Goldilocks-like" pairing is ideal: not too similar but also not too distinct.

Both the Swiss study and replicated versions have proven that women on hormonal birth control—those studied were all on the Pill, not localized hormonal options like the NuvaRing or IUDs—are attracted to the scent of men whose MHC genes are most similar to their own. In other words, men who are bad DNA matches. So what gives?

The Pill and other hormonal birth control prevent ovulation. This signals to a woman's body that she's pregnant, a state in which a woman is better off being around smells that indicate family—those with DNA similarity—for protection rather than scents with less DNA similarity, which indicate potential suitors. As Brown University professor and one of the world's leading scent researchers, Rachel Herz, puts it, "[The Pill] hormonally mimics a state of pregnancy and kin is better to be around during this vulnerable period."

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