I’ve been seeing my partner for five months and feel we have a long-term future, so are discussing changing our method of contraception. We’ve been using condoms, but my boyfriend wants me to go on the Pill. I don’t want to go back to it aged 48, when my chances of getting pregnant are almost non-existent. Wouldn’t the rhythm method be sufficient?
Now here’s an ironic thing: if you were trying to fall pregnant at the age of 48, the medics would tell you that your chances of doing so naturally were rather less than those of being hit by an asteroid.
Suggest, however, that you’re thinking of being laidback about contraception because you’re far too old to conceive and the story changes dramatically. Everyone will cite a woman they know on the far side of her 40s who stopped bothering with protection and suddenly found herself knocked up.
They might also mention the fact that middle-aged women are the fastest-growing demographic seeking abortions, and that much of what’s said about female fertility is wrong.
So, when I tell you to be cautious, I really mean it. If you’re going to try the rhythm method, you need to be careful monitoring your temperature and ovulation.
You also need to be prepared to exercise extreme self-control during fertile periods — which is also when you’ll be feeling most desire. Good luck with that.
None of this means that you have to go back on the Pill. There’s a wide range of alternatives. The popular Mirena coil releases smaller doses of hormones than the contraceptive Pill and safeguards against pregnancy for five years.
I would advise a trip to your nearest family planning clinic, where a specialist will talk you through all the best options.