By 2020, condoms may be the only contraceptive in the Philippines

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Condoms may be one of the last options for contraception and family planning for Filipino couples by the year 2020. More details, below.

According to Health Undersecretary Gerard Bayugo, the only contraceptive which will not be out of the market in 2020 will most likely be the condom.

Speaking to Philstar, Bayugo explained that condoms are not included because they are not covered  by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s certificate of product registration (CPR). Therefore, they are not considered drug products.

A temporary restraining order on contraceptives was issued by the supreme court in 2015, a decision which is being contested by reproductive health advocates who want to maintain the public's access to contraceptives.

"We cannot compel couples to use condoms since it will be the only ones available."

"We cannot compel couples to use condoms since it will be the only ones available. It is not our principle. It is against what we promised. We wanted to give them choices. It is their decision, not ours," he said, confiding how the Department of Health (DOH) is presently struggling to purchase contraceptives to give out for free in an effort to help couples achieve responsible family planning.

Bayugo, however, clarified that the DOH will be more than willing to give out more free condoms to the public, should there be an increased demand for it.

Choosing the right family planning method for you

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When choosing what method of family planning best suits you and your partner, here are some important questions to ask, according to Mayo Clinic.

Is it safe?

Family planning is essential to you, your partner and children's health. Prepare for possible side effects by keeping yourself informed. Talk to your doctor or barangay health practitioner regarding your health history. For some couples, natural birth control methods may work best. It's important to note, too, that male and female condoms are the only methods of contraception that protect from Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

Is it convenient?

Before deciding, first know how accessible each method will be. For instance, barangay health centers give out free condoms as supplies last. Some even offer to place IUD (intrauterine devices) right in the barangay health center.

Is it affordable?

Financial considerations will surely come into play because you will commit to your chosen family planning method for a long period of time. So choosing one that's affordable will benefit you in the long run.

Is it acceptable to your partner?

It takes two to make a baby and it also takes two to plan a family. Before choosing a family planning method, make sure your partner is on board with the idea.

For instance, if your partner doesn't want to use condoms and you experience side effects when taking pills, there are other options to explore, such as diaphragms, sterilization, tubal ligation, or vasectomy.

Does it offer benefits aside from preventing pregnancy?

Aside from birth control, contraceptives can offer a host of benefits like lighter, more regular menstrual cycles, lessened risk of STDs, and reduce the risk of some cancers. Family planning shouldn't just be driven by economic reasons, but it should also be hinged upon wanting to maintain your family's health.

READ: “My husband won’t use condoms, I won’t use pills. What other contraceptives should we use?”

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