Is ordering birth control online the new normal? With the advent of apps promising the convenience, the answers seem to be yes – and girls as young as age 14 may already be getting the pill.

The high-tech option appeals to women who could not visit a doctor or are rather uncomfortable seeing one – and would probably choose to order birth control pills directly from their smartphone.

New York Times reported that there are at least six options at present for app-based birth control prescription or ordering, all working differently yet allows women to answer health questions via a form or video. The information, too, can be reviewed by a doctor and they can simply pick up pills from the pharmacy or in the mail.

Birth Control Delivered To One’s Phone

One of these apps is called Lemonaid, which charges $15 for a physician to review someone’s medical data for issues such as acid reflex, acne, flu, sinus infection, and even erectile dysfunction. For women, it sends an ordered birth control prescription to a local pharmacy.

“At first I didn’t believe it. I thought it was just a setup to get money,” said patient Susan Hashem, who eventually had a doctor call her after office hours for consultation before she picked up three months’ worth of pills the next day.

Here are other apps offering birth control-finding services online:

  • Nurx for obtaining birth control and the HIV prevention drug PrEP
  • Planned Parenthood telehealth, which provides birth control prescriptions as well as the ability to order an STD home test or UTI treatment
  • Maven, a “digital clinic for women” with a network of physicians, nurses, and women’s health experts including doulas and lactation specialists
  • Virtuwell for general healthcare therapy covering conditions such as ear infections, allergies, and colds in addition to birth control and STD pills

Effects On In-Person Doctor Visits, Teen Contraception

There are people, however, who are on the fence about the digitally available services. Among them is Costa Mesa nurse Jacqui Letran, who has been prescribing birth control to teens and adults for 15 years now.

“If you’re not seeing your healthcare provider on a regular basis, you’re missing out on quite a bit of healthcare education,” she warned, stressing the critical role of in-person visits for areas such as risk assessment.

The increased access to contraception, too, can make a world of difference in their availability for teenage girls, Cosmopolitan noted. According to previous studies, a major reason why teens do not use birth control – and likely fall into the trap of teen pregnancy – is fear of judgment from parents, who may be hesitant to acknowledge the fact that their kids are having sex.

Guttmacher data also reveals that women ages 15 to 19 are less likely to use a birth control technique than any other age range.

These apps may prove to be a timesaver as well as form of relief for busy or hesitant women, unless they live in states like Oregon and California that just recently allowed pharmacists to write birth control prescriptions on their own.

Photo: Sarah Campbell | Flickr 

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