The Pill

Like a swift kick to the testes, the pill is an effective (less painful) way of not having unexpected children.  For centuries women have been doing a number of things to prevent conception.  In the year 1929 researchers took the first step in the right direction, by extracting and isolating the female sex hormone estrone (which was then metabolized into the more potent estradiol) from a pregnant women’s urine.  Since there is such a small amount of estrone contained in the body, more than four tons of pig ovaries had to be used to obtain only 12 milligrams of estradiol.  On a molecular basis the molecules of testosterone and estradiol only differ by one less CH3, an OH instead of a double-bonded O, and a few more C=C bonds; but there effects they have on maturing body are completely different.  Progesterone was the hormone that would become key in producing a safe, cheap, and reliable contraceptive.  Progesterone is used in the body to signal the uterus to be ready to for the fertilized egg; furthermore when there is a lot of it, like after the egg was been fertilized, it prevents any more eggs from being fertilized in the woman.  When Dr. John Rock learned about this hormone he used it to produce a pill that would be used to promote fertility.  He thought that when you give a woman butt loads of progesterone that when you finally take her off it she would be better able to conceive, which he used the term “rebound effect” for.  Though this molecule would not work as a pill or in the small doses required for a pill.  Dr. Rock began looking for a better suited, artificial replacement.  That is when a pharmaceutical company had patented a called norethynodrel.   Norethynodrel only differed from another molecule called norethindrone ( the first molecule used in place of progesterone) by the different position of a double bond.  Dr. John started testing the uses of norethynodrel, which had been given the name Enovid, on his patients.  Though he was testing for the increased fertility at the end of the experiment, which seemed to only work occasionally, he found out that Enovid was 100% effective at blocking conception.  With the new power of not having to settle down due to children women now had a new role in the world.  They could now not have to stay home and take care of their new born child and could instead go out into the world.  They began to get more of an education and started to enter the job market in massive numbers: they got jobs in politics, business, and in trade.  With the ability now to chose when they want children women have been given new possibilities, rights, and powers that previous generations could not have.  Although with issues  of morality, family values, possible health problems, long-term effects, and other concerns made it difficult for woman to feel comfortable being able to take the pill;  however, by 1965 nearly four million women were taking the pill.

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “The Pill

  1. I will start off by saying you have a really good attention grabber. This is well written on both a chemical and historical level. You did a good job on explaining the differences between the male and female sex hormones. It was also well written on how they were able to create the pill. This is overall a very good blog.

  2. I found your blog a rather interesting interpretation of the chapter. and I definitely agree that the pill is much less painful then “a swift kick to the testes”! But over all it was a good blog, Garrett!

  3. Garrett, your attention grabber was on point.. haha. But other than that I think you did a god job of explaining the qualities of birth control as well as hormones in the human body. I actually learned a lot from this blog good job!

  4. Garrett your blogs are always so hilarious and creative! Also, your blog is full of good information, chemically and historically. Good job!

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