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We Asked Young People Who Should Pay for the Pill

"I don't know if guys should have to pay for a girl who's using an expensive pill for reasons other than contraception. I mean, if I had some bowel condition, would they be paying for my treatment?"

Photo by Fred Clifton

Not having babies costs money. But until a few months ago, I'd never considered asking my boyfriend to go halves on contraception. Then I decided to shell out a bit more for a new pill because my old friend Levlen, while amazingly cheap, was wreaking havoc on my skin.

I was relieved when he offered to split the cost because the new pill was pricey. Yet I felt torn: Should my boyfriend really have to pay just because I was sick of having the types of breakouts that are usually reserved for teenagers?


I decided to ask around, to get answers from a bunch of girls and guys on this seemingly simple question: Who should pay for the pill?

Chloe, 19

Sadly, no one has ever offered to pay for the pill, nor do I know of any close friend whose partner splits it with them. Generally girls are expected to pay the entire fee for their chosen contraception (Implanon, IUD, the pill), while boys are expected to pay for condoms.

But splitting contraception is often more complex than simply splitting a bill.
When I started dating my current partner of two years, I was already on the pill, so we never had a conversation about who would pay because it was a decision I made for reasons other than just safe sex.

But I decided to go off the pill about four months ago, and since then, we've taken it in turns to buy condoms.

Adam, 27

I have offered, and my partner initially refused, but when she was going to a more expensive pharmacist, she accepted, and now we share the cost. I think I owe an extra round or two, though.

Since the woman typically has to shoulder most of the admin, mental load, and stress of a potential pregnancy or termination, it seems fair that the man should cop at least half of the financial burden.

Having said that, if I thought my partner was making a poor decision about the method or brand of contraception, I probably wouldn't feel comfortable paying for it.

Zoe, 24

Yes, a partner should definitely pay half of our contraception, whether that's literally half or even covering something else in lieu. When you share so many expenses in a relationship, the pill may seem affordable for women, but it potentially dissolves the responsibility of the man. I feel this should be an issue shared by both partners.


However, when I was taking the pill, I generally paid just for the convenience—my partner would contribute occasionally, but because guys aren't the ones booking the doctors appointments and picking up the prescriptions, it's a case of out of sight, out of mind.

Phil, 26

Why doesn't everyone just use the cheaper option like the IUD or the Implanon? That way it's a one-off payment and see you later. I've never been asked, and I've never thought to offer. My last girlfriend was in Germany, and everything is free there. Back at home in England, it's only a few quid every three months.

I don't know if guys should have to pay for a girls who are using a really expensive pill for reasons other than contraception. I mean, if I had some bowel condition, would they be paying for my treatment? And when do you start paying? The third date? There are a lot of questions.

Tom, 29

I think splitting is definitely optional. I mean, contraception is as arbitrary an area as any to mandate equal spending. That said, I've definitely offered to pay before. The response has usually been a mixture of pleasantries that I've interpreted to mean, "How nice of you to think of the cost of contraception, but I don't think that you paying is going to happen." If I had substantially more money than my partner, or just any money, I'd probably feel more responsible.

Rachel, 28

In theory, I like the idea, but I've never asked a boyfriend to pay for contraception. I think contraception is almost always up to the woman, so often they get shouldered with it. I've got the Implanon at the moment, and I'm not about to ask my boyfriend to give me €22 for it. Unless it's a really expensive pill, it's an awkward conversation to have for only a small amount of money.


Xabe, 29

My partner's never offered, but then again, I've never been on the pill or anything similar since we've been together. We did share the cost of condoms when we used those. I actually just asked him, and he said he'd never even think of offering in the first place. I think it's very much a mysterious woman thing in a lot of guys' eyes.

I'd definitely want my partner to pay half my contraception if I was using any—it's something we both benefit from, so it's probably something we should both pay for. Maybe if I was using something that benefited my health in a lot of different ways separately to being a contraceptive, I might feel uncomfortable letting him pay for a large fraction of it. But otherwise, sex is an equally shared part of your relationship and the costs associated with it should be too.

Robert*, 27

I would definitely be happy to pay half the cost of a girlfriend's contraception. I'd also pay a premium for one that didn't affect her moods (either directly due to hormone imbalances, or indirectly by way of the side effects, skin, weight gain, etc). If there was an income disparity, I'd be happy to pay more than half; it all comes out in the wash, and a baby is far more expensive anyway. I did offer to help pay for the pill for my ex-girlfriend a few times, but she refused. I'm not sure why.