The Pill and Choosing a Mate
One Sunday after a council meeting, my bishop brought up a recent study on the effect of birth control on women’s ability to select a mate. The study posits that women are attracted to men with different MHC patterns (immune system) through pheremones, and when they are using birth control, they are attracted to men who have similar patterns. When a man and woman with similar immune systems conceive, it produces a child whose immune system may not be as strong as could have been otherwise. (Some people go so far as to say that a child could not be produced.)
Aside from my initial impulse to dismiss this news as the latest propaganda against using birth control, I found it to be an intriguing idea. I’ve never had reason to consider using birth control before marriage. I’ve always planned to use it once I was engaged to have more control over when to conceive (which I also find interesting given my Mormon upbringing, and I’m not sure how I came to that conclusion), but I’ve never thought of it as a factor in choosing a mate. It wasn’t until recently that I learned of the church’s former position on birth control and the current language.
On the other side, I thought of the woman who has unaltered hormones, and chooses a man who may be a match physically, but is a poor match emotionally or financially, etc. Hmm…
While I’m on the topic of birth control, there are also the concerns about how the pill affects the ability to have children after using it, whether it causes miscarriage, increased risk of heart disease, and other side effects. (That sounds like questions for a medical doctor, but I have friends who site reasons like this for avoiding the pill altogether.) I do think that the choice to use the pill is an individual one, and should be left up to each woman to decide for herself.