National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Want to Find a Good Husband and Have a Family? Don’t Use the Pill

How Contraception Interferes With Attraction — and Has Numerous Other Adverse Effects

BY Lori Hadacek Chaplin

November 4-17, 2012 Issue | Posted 11/10/12 at 10:47 AM

 

When women talk about having "pretty days" and days when they don’t feel as beautiful, there is science to corroborate this feeling of cycling attractiveness. Studies that have emerged in the last few years show women are perceptibly prettier and more alluring to the opposite sex during ovulation. The ovulatory cycle induces changes in women’s appearance, odor and voice pitch — to which men are sensitive. During ovulation, women also perceive themselves as being more alluring, and they report an increase in libido.

Unfortunately, women taking hormonal contraceptives like the pill don’t experience those peak attractive times because the contraceptive pill prevents ovulation.

That isn’t the only negative effect the pill has on women’s bodies.

 

Pill Alters Mate Choice

The 2009 U.K. study "Does the Contraceptive Pill Alter Mate Choice in Humans?" — published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution — not only verifies that the pill has a bearing on female attractiveness; it also reveals a much weightier issue: The pill interferes with natural mate preferences.

The study, conducted over a 10-year period, found that female pill users are drawn to men who are less masculine, less symmetrical-looking, and who are genetically similar to themselves. In contrast, ovulating women look for chiseled-featured, masculine men who are genetically dissimilar to themselves.

As Janet Smith, Register columnist and author of Contraception: Why Not, explained, "For over a decade, and perhaps longer, researchers have been discovering that pheromones, the hormones responsible for sexual attraction, are adversely affected by the use of hormonal contraception. Not only does contraception harm a woman’s health and expose her to risk of unwanted pregnancy, abortion, STDs, heartbreak and a host of other harms, it also gets in the way of her finding a suitable mate."

Dr. Anthony Caruso, a pro-life fertility specialist based in suburban Chicago, added, "Another real concern is what might happen when the woman stops the pill and realizes that she is no longer attracted to her husband. For men, while the attraction basis may be different, these changes also influence him."

 

Smell Matters

Unbeknownst to her, an ovulating woman has the ability to sniff out a good genetic match. Body odor carries chemicals called major histocompatibility complex (MHC). "These MHC cells, which are a part of the immune system, appear to play a role in pheromone production. Women off the pill seem to want to have a partner with different MHCs than theirs," explained Caruso.

Back in 1995, Swiss zoologist Claus Wedekind proved this preference for mates through his "sweaty t-shirt" experiment. He selected 49 women and 44 men based on their MHC gene types. The men were given clean t-shirts and told to sleep in them for two nights. The t-shirts were then placed in boxes with smelling holes. The women were invited to sniff the boxes and then rate each t-shirt’s aroma as to its intensity, pleasantness and sexiness. The results were that woman overwhelmingly preferred the scents of men who had different MHC genes from their own. However, women who were taking oral contraceptives preferred the smell of t-shirts with similar MHC genes as their own.

It appears that hormonal contraceptives throw off a woman’s sense of smell, and, contrary to nature, she becomes more attracted to a MHC-similar partner, explained Caruso: "This may be due to the fact that the pill puts the woman into a pregnancy-like state, and the attractiveness of home and security that comes from similar MHCs may play a role."

 

Health of Future Generations

In the 2009 study, the authors postulate that the pill could have detrimental effects on future generations, stressing that more studies need to be conducted. They predict that offspring of pill users will be more homozygous (possessing two identical forms of a particular gene), which can be related to impaired immune function, an increase of genetic diseases, as well as decreased perceived health and attractiveness.

The study also states that genetic similarity can negatively influence the time it takes couples to conceive, can result in miscarriage, and is associated with pre-eclampsia — a medical condition in which gestational hypertension occurs — and other issues.

"In a general sense, MHC ‘similarness’ is akin to inbreeding in its most extreme. The more heterozygous or different the MHC, then the less you see these problems," Caruso said.

 

Hormonal Symphony

Consequently, the pill interferes with women’s ability to find ideal marital matches. "There is no doubt that the female menstrual cycle and its complexity has a role in the choice of partner," Caruso explained.

In agreement, Dr. Vince Fortanasce, a bioethicist and author, added, "We are fooling around with the natural law, the hormonal symphony, that God has set up, and when we do so, hormones get out of rhythm. Consequently, not only do births not occur, people become less attracted to one another — and sex becomes an object in itself."

 

More Side Effects

Besides interfering with cycling attractiveness and mate preference, the pill carries a whole host of side effects and risks, including the possibility of increased irritability, increased propensity to depression, weight gain and a reduced libido.

More serious risks include increased likelihood of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, liver tumors and gallstones. The pill also heightens infertility.

"When a hormone is chronically changed, it actually changes the entire system of hormones. It changes the master hormones and how they excrete. The result of this is that when a woman does want to become pregnant and stops the pill, the body continues to act as if the contraceptive is still being taken. That is one of the reasons why women who have been on contraceptives for a long period of time can’t get pregnant," explained Fortanasce.

Finally, many may not be aware that the pill works as an abortifacient, causing a "non-surgical" abortion in the early weeks of pregnancy. "The pill (and Norplant and Depo-Provera) works in three ways. It works by stopping ovulation; if a woman doesn’t release an egg, she cannot get pregnant. It works by changing the viscosity of the mucus that either helps or hinders the sperm from getting to the egg. And it works by rendering the uterine wall hostile to the fertilized ovum — or, in my thinking, to the new human being," Smith noted in her essay "Natural Law and Sexual Ethics."

A woman never knows how the hormones in the pill are affecting her body; she does not know how it is preventing her from becoming pregnant. It could be preventing her from ovulating, but it also could be causing her to self-abort.

How often do contraceptive abortions occur?

In Thomas Reynolds’ article "The Unheard-of Holocaust: Abortifacient Contraception," which was featured in Celebrate Life magazine’s July-August 2012 issue, he asks Bogomir Kuhar, who has a doctorate in pharmacy, to estimate the number.

Based on his research, Kuhar said in the article, "‘There is approximately one contraceptive or IUD [intrauterine device]-induced abortion each year among those who use these abortifacient[s].’"

Lori Chaplin

writes from Idaho.