Set It And Forget It

Kat Stoeffel appraises the benefits of IUDs, noting that the women converted to their use are likely to "extol the virtues of the device with the unsolicited but contagious conviction of the Avon lady":

Although it was once poised to be the pill’s sidekick in the sexual revolution, an aggressively marketed and fatally defective seventies model, the Dalkon Shield, waylaid the IUD’s popularity when it was recalled amid a highly publicized, asbestos-scale class-action lawsuit. Nonetheless, its reputation held in Europe, where about 20 percent of contraceptive-using women currently have one.

For those who came of age during the post-Dalkon blackout, learning about the IUD is like discovering that some benevolent God has been listening to your specific complaints about being a woman and will deal with them one at a time. Are you tired of refilling birth control prescriptions? Can’t remember where you left your pills? With the IUD, you’re baby-proof for up to ten years. (Doctors call it the “set it and forget it” method, like the rotisserie ovens sold on TV.) Do the hormones in birth control pills make you cry, as one IUD evangelist put it, “at the tiny hand in the March of Dimes commercial?” The copper IUD is hormone-free. Don’t trust him to pull out punctually? Sick of searching for the elusive Sponge? The IUD is as effective as sterilization until you take it out. (Although, as with tubal ligation, things happen.) As one IUD-using friend puts it in an e-mail she sends to potential converts, “it’s like being a man.”

Previous Dish on IUDs here.