Birth control in the year 2001.
Focus in this discussion is on the following questions: what should birth control be like both globally and in the United States in the year 2001; what could it be; what will it be; and why. The specific birth control methods used in the year 2001 will most likely be practically indistinguishable from the methods available at this time. Birth control in the future should address itself to the various unmet needs which differ from country to country and even from person to person. What is needed in the year 2001 is a contraceptive supermarket, that is, availability on a global scale of a repertoire of birth control devices and methods from which both men and women may choose, taking into consideration health factors and their own cultural, religious, and moral preferences. If a man today wants to carry part of the contraceptive responsibility, he will find a sparsely stocked contraceptive supermarket -- condoms, coitus interruptus, and vasectomy. Only women in monogamous sexual relationships are likely to depend on men to practice contraception. The primary justification for the development of a better-stocked contraceptive supermarket is that there is no universally "perfect" contraceptive and never will be. A male pill is feasible but would probably take 15-20 years from laboratory discovery to practical application even if major efforts are put into such a program, and current efforts are minimal. The most promising approach would be a once-a-month pill for women in both advanced and less developed countries. More feasible might be the development of a convenient and completely reliable method of ovulation prediction.