So my parents-in-law have been coming up with lots of theories of why I have not produced a grandchild. The one that they are sure of is that because I once took birth control pills I must therefore be infertile. I laughed at it because it was absurd, but it made me kind of angry with no way to educate them on how birth control pills works. That’s when I realized that their assumption was not entirely uneducated. What exactly is considered “the pill” in China?
A long long time ago, I was a student in Xi’an with a 6 month stock pill of my American birth control pills. I ended up staying in China for longer than 6 months though and did not want to disturb my cycle or hormones by going off the pill. Too bad you can’t refill prescriptions by international mail. So I grabbed one of my Chinese girlfriends to take me to the pharmacy to buy a month’s supply of birth control. Simple enough. We told the pharmacist what we wanted and she handed me a box with one pill. I looked at both my friend and the pharmacist and explained that it was not right. My friend laughed and said that it was the right medicine. “You take this pill once a month and you will not get pregnant.” It took a few seconds for what she said to sink in. In my hands was the morning after pill.
I made a final attempt to see if there was a birth control pill that involved taking one pill daily and to no avail, I went home. In pursuit of finding birth control, I asked around school and met college girls who used abortions as birth control and simply went to the doctor when they got pregnant. Neither of those methods seemed like they would keep me regulated.
They do have regular birth control pills in China, common ones are Marvelon 妈富隆, Yasmin 优思明, and Diane 达英. I had to go to a gynecologist to find them, but the are pretty common now. Just be careful when asking the pharmacist because the words 避孕药 are interchangeable for birth control pills and emergency contraception. Why didn’t Chinese girls know about them?!
So back to my in-laws. If they believe that I regularly took the morning after pill than their fears aren’t unfounded. I do not know if it really does affect fertility or not, the pharmaceutical companies say no, but it’s a common belief that regular use of that pill will make it harder to conceive and the pills comes with warning that it should not be used excessively. I will even concede that having taken Chinese medicine, I cannot guarantee what was actually in there and therefore cannot possibly fully understand the side effects. There are lots of things that my in-laws say that sound absolutely crazy to me. I try to take a step back and understand where they are coming from. I just wish they would stop talking about my fertility so much.