Chances are if you are in a long-term relationship, you will be (or at least should be) using contraception. However, there is one pressing question that needs answered: should couples split the cost of contraception? It is often an idea that has never crossed people’s minds. I believed that most people feel that whatever method you are using, the person who is taking it should pay.
Therefore, the woman should buy the pill, and the man the condoms. But is this fair? Contraception can really add up, especially for students. The pill, bar and IUD are only free if you have a medical card. It is €50 to visit the doctor to get a prescription. Condoms are given out for free only in some colleges. So, who should be bearing the brunt of the cost of avoiding pregnancy?
According to Refinery 29, it often falls to women to pay for the cost of birth control. Both people should be responsible for family planning in the relationship, according to Susan Winter, a relationship expert based in New York city. She recommends couples who are in a monogamous, committed relationship to split the cost, as it makes financial sense. She also points out many couples stop using condoms and just use the pill, the cost of which is often shouldered by the woman who is taking it. Having an unplanned pregnancy will work out far more expensive than paying roughly €35 per person for a year’s worth of the pill.
What is the general consensus among college students? Most people I spoke to agreed that in long-term relationships, the cost should be shared between the couple. Shane from NUI Galway would agree that contraception should be paid for by both people in the relationship. “I would definitely think so. Birth control is an expense and should be split 50/50, same way if the alternative happens and you have to raise a child it should be 50/50. I don’t know though….my opinion could evolve,” he says.
Similarly, Damien who is studying in Dublin Institute of Technology says the cost should be shared. “I pay half of the cost of my girlfriend’s pill. I didn’t always though, I wish I would have thought of it sooner as it does take two to tango,” he admits.
Ciaran, a Trinity College student, also agrees that contraception should be a shared cost. “Yeah I think it’s probably a good idea to split the costs of contraception in a relationship. If the relationship is long term and mature one it can resolve a potential conflict in a fair manner,” he says.
Maggie from NUI Galway says that her and her boyfriend share the cost from time to time. “We sometimes split the price of me going to the doctors to get my pill prescription,” she says. “I don’t think its necessarily up to either to buy it, if you need it, go buy it,” she says in relation to purchasing condoms.
Hannah, a student in the University of Limerick, says that there are caveats in the argument that the cost should be split evenly. “I think if you’re using the pill for purely contraceptive reasons then you and your partner should split the cost…but like if you’re using it for skin or medical reasons I’m not sure that it’s fair to ask someone else to pay for it,” she says.
Megan from Sligo Institute of Technology says that although she has the bar, nothing is 100% so her and her boyfriend still use condoms. They both equally buy them. “It just depends on who’s doing what, as he tends to be working more I usually have the time to get them. In my opinion both people should contribute to protection,” she says.
It seems that most students believe the cost of contraception should be shared evenly. A lot of people seem to be unwilling to have a conversation about splitting the cost of birth control.
If you think your partner isn’t contributing enough, ask. Chances are they just haven’t thought of it, and would be more than happy to share the financial burden. If they kick up a fuss about it, suggest using abstinence as an instant and free method of avoiding pregnancy. I am sure they will change their minds fairly swiftly.
Still here? Check this out: Are We Programmed To Want A Relationship?