Should You Split The Cost Of Birth Control With Your Partner? Here's How To Start The Conversation

Who should pay for contraception? It's the age-old question that's becoming more and more prevalent as we shine a light on the inequalities of the sexes. Traditionally, it's been seen as a woman's job to keep herself protected against unexpected pregnancies via methods like the birth control pill or the coil, while men have typically taken on the cost of male contraception methods like condoms (remember that barrier method contraception is the only way to prevent STIs, so it's never a bad idea to use things like condoms until you and your partner have been tested!) But is that really the way it's supposed to be?

There's been plenty of research on the differences in the financial burden between men and women when it comes to paying for contraception. Healthline reported that the average woman taking the hormonal birth control pill could pay up to $50 a month for the tablets compared to the cost of a condom, which typically costs $2 for one. That means a man would have to use around 25 condoms every single month to match the cost of birth control pills.

But if you're considering splitting the price with your partner, particularly if only one of you is taking birth control, what's the best way to approach the subject?

Think about your financial divide

Before you start talking to your partner about potentially splitting the cost of birth control, think about your financial divide at the moment. If you live together, do you split everything 50/50 or do you have responsibilities in different fields (i.e. one of you pays for bigger things, like the mortgage, and the other pays for more everyday items like groceries). If you don't live together, do you split dates equally, do you take turns, or do you each pay your own way? It's also worth considering if your partner is paying for their own contraception (some heterosexual couples may prefer to use condoms and another form of birth control to be extra safe), and if the costs are similar.

Determining your financial split will be the first step in working out how you really feel about paying for contraception and who the financial burden falls on. If you're more inclined to split things 50/50, use that to start the conversation — making it clear that you want everything to remain equal. Similarly, going through both of your expenses will make it clearer what your incomes are, and if one of you is in a better financial position to pay for birth control without it impacting their income too much. How long you've been with your partner and how serious your relationship may also influence this decision, as well as factors like if you're planning to one day have a baby together.

Do your research before having the birth control conversation

A great way to start a conversation about birth control with your partner is to remind them that, if you're having to pay for your birth control, you're unfortunately already in a tough position. Due to the Affordable Care Act, many people in the U.S. actually have access to free birth control, but, a 2018 study in Contraception: X found that 10% of those employed by larger businesses still had to pay for oral contraceptives. Explain to your partner that the circumstances surrounding you having to pay aren't your fault, and also point out that in many countries around the world, including Canada, birth control is free to most women.

Things will also be a lot easier to discuss if you do your research beforehand. Work out how much you actually pay for birth control, or, if you're just starting out with contraceptives or want to change up your method, explain thoroughly what birth control technique you're planning on using and just how much it could cost you. IUDs, for example, can set you back up to $1,300! Putting a figure on things is likely to make it much clearer to your partner exactly how much of a financial burden you're under in preventing unwanted pregnancies, increasing the chances they'll be willing to contribute financially. Equally, if they're asking you to pay towards their contraception method, learning how much they spend will also help you better decide how to split your costs.

Create a safe space to discuss things thoroughly

When you approach your partner about the prospect of splitting contraception costs with your partner, it's important that you create a safe space to discuss things properly. As with any kind of conversation about sexual health or finances (and this one is a double whammy!) there's always the chance things could get a little awkward, so you both need to feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly with one another about how you really feel. You also need to be prepared to potentially hear a different take on who the responsibility for the cost of birth control falls upon than yours. "Your partner may have different thought processes and practices with money, so rather than approaching interactions with any intention to correct, change, or convince, go into conversations with the mindset that you're there to learn more about them," financial therapist Megan Ford suggested of having any kind of money conversation while speaking to Well+Good.

If you don't get the response you're hoping for the first time, try having the conversation again after you've both cooled down and had time to think about things. If you find your partner has a drastically different opinion on the topic to you and isn't willing to budge though, then it's time to get thinking. Are you willing to respect their opinion or is this a bigger issue for you?

Make the birth control conversation fun

While discussing how you're going to split the cost of birth control is a serious conversation, it doesn't necessarily mean it has to be done in an overly serious way. If you're both very open about your finances, the perfect time to bring up the conversation could be when you're already chatting about money and your recent outgoings, so it doesn't seem to come completely out of the blue. Plus, you'll also be able to bring up your birth control costs against the backdrop of some of the other things you've paid for recently, making it ideal and a little less awkward if you're struggling a little financially. However, if you don't tend to check in all that regularly about money, why not bring it up on a fun date night?

Jake Northrup, a certified financial planner with Experience Your Wealth, suggested to Insider that conversations about money usually go down better if they're done in a slightly less serious way, as it can make them feel like less of a burden. "Try to make it fun: Get out of the house, have a glass of wine, and reflect upon your finances for the past month," he shared.

Decide what you really want to do about your contraception

No matter who brings up the idea of splitting the cost of contraception, it's important you approach the conversation with at least a pretty good idea of what you want to do and how you genuinely feel about it. After all, it's your body! Though both of you, of course, have a say when it comes to your sexual health, it's important to remember that in the vast majority of cases, an unwanted pregnancy is likely to have more of an impact on the woman in a heterosexual relationship.

If you think like you'd feel more comfortable splitting the cost with your partner knowing you're in a loving, safe relationship, and you feel close enough to your other half for them to have a say, that's great! But if splitting the cost with your partner would make it feel like you were losing some control when it comes to your own body, don't do anything you're not comfortable with. For example, you may prefer to get something like an IUD, but if your partner thinks that's too expensive or isn't willing to pay a percentage of the potential $1,300 cost for one and would prefer you to try something cheaper, you may feel that what's happening to your body isn't truly your decision. That could have an impact not only on your relationship, but on how you feel about yourself, too.