Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Quest for the FemCap: Proof that our system favors pharmaceuticals.

WARNING:  Nothing is off-limits to me in this blog. I may bring up things that you don't really want to hear about.  You may not have any interest in knowing what kind of contraception I use.  If this is the case, stop reading this post now :)

The Femcap:

I have chosen an alternative method of contraception.  After ten years of the pill, I stopped taking it.  I went through the experience of ridding my body of synthetic hormones (whatever isn’t stored long-term) and started tracking my body’s natural cycle.  It was really something to behold.  Then I experienced the wonders of pregnancy and childbirth.  Through all of this, I have come to know my body in new ways and I won’t ever go back to hormonal birth control.  I am thinking more freely and openly than ever before, actually have a libido again (hormonal contraception can seriously dampen that one), and have generally embraced my own body more fully than ever before.  I am loving it!  After much research, I have made the choice to switch to the Femcap, basically THE cervical cap in existence these days.  As a user of the Diva Cup, another of my true loves, this seemed like something I’d be incredibly comfortable with. 

With prescription in hand, I set out to acquire the Femcap, which you pretty much have to order from either their website or get from Planned Parenthood (the closest one to me is about 70 miles away).  So the website does not ask for your insurance information and I happen to know that this is something covered 100% under the Affordable Care Act.  I called my pharmacy insurance provider to inquire as to how I might get the Femcap paid for when ordering through the site.  They told me this was not something I could do, but that they covered the Femcap with $0 copay.  I could just go through the Costco pharmacy or the mail order company.  Well, my friends, this is definitely NOT the case.  Not only does no pharmacy have any idea what I’m talking about, once they actually look into it, they discover they don’t have it and they can’t order it.  So the third time that I called my insurance, and asked once again how I could get this paid for through my plan, and they told me yet again to go through the pharmacies or through “you doctor’s office,” I had really had enough.  To the nice lady on the phone, I relayed that not one single pharmacy, brick and mortar or mail order could provide what I needed.  I told her it was time to get creative and asked what the next step was.  She repeated the same old line and what I could practically hear from every person I spoke to during this whole process was - eesh, why don’t you just go on the pill lady, complete with eye roll…

Listen, I know I’m not traditional in any sense of the word, but there is nothing wrong with me.  The fact that I am choosing a different method of birth control should not mean I have to jump through hoops just to get it.  After running around in circles with the gal on the phone, I finally gave up on her ability to think of anything creative outside of the usual script, so I requested to speak to her supervisor.  The end result is that the supervisor created a “case” where she put in some sort of request to see “IF” my insurance would cover me and reimburse me for the Femcap if I ordered it off of their website or if I drive the 140 mile round trip to acquire one from Planned Parenthood.  I will hear from them in approximately 9 business days.

The problem here is that I could get the pill anywhere, anytime I want.  The multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry has made sure of that.  Their products are promoted like crazy, and I know the doctors of my past never went over the real short AND long-term effects that hormonal birth control could have on me.  It wasn’t until I began seeing midwives, with a real whole understanding of a woman, that I was ever properly informed of all of my options and given a real choice.  The issue is, while this minority of midwife healthcare providers is dead set on giving real information and options, the powers that be are not.  In fact, the fewer options you have, the better.  Why not just make up our minds for us?  With the disappearance of real options, this is exactly what is happening.  The false myriad of options is limited primarily to: How would you like your hormones? Injected? Consumed? Placed conveniently in your uterus or vagina?  Would you like to pay for name brand or is generic ok?

Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks this is not acceptable.  The idea that doing what is best for my body is the most difficult option when navigating our health care system is completely unacceptable to me.  It is so obvious to me that this system is really only set up for the financial health of the companies that provide our pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

My question is…  What do we do now?  Now that our “health care” system is owned by people who want to make money off of our illness, off of our willingness to fill our bodies with synthetic hormones, what do we do?


  1. I applaud your efforts to pursue an alternative birth control. You are blazing a path for those who don't have the desire or energy to do so for themselves. I hope you will share how you finally acquire the Femcap. Doctors push pharmaceuticals because they are not trained to offer alternatives. On a personal note, when I ask my GYN what I can do to minimize the symptoms of menopause she immediately offers all sorts of hormone therapy. I ask if there is anything "natural" I can try and the response is a resounding "No". So, it is on me to find my way, by trial and error, to ease the symptoms of menopause. It should not be so difficult to follow the non-pharmaceutical path to good health!

  2. I didn't know this existed. I recently went off hormonal birth control (because my gynecologist didn't renew my prescription, apparently you have to be checked out every year before the meds can keep flowin'!) and I noticed within one week how much stronger my libido has become - I hadn't realized I had become so blah about sex. I'm going to look into this for sure - sounds like a much better option for me!

  3. It's amazing isn't it! I'm glad I can share these thoughts and in some small way I might be able to help others pursue alternatives. Let's change the system one person at a time!