Where would you expect to find a film about the oral contraceptive pill which begins with the comment that this is “the first medical drug made specifically to treat people who aren’t sick”?

Not at a bastion of liberal opinion such as the UK Guardian website. But that is where the video above was posted last month, warning that if you weren’t sick when you started taking this treatment for being a woman, you soon might be.

The eight-minute film is a trailer for a longer documentary being made by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein (The Business of Being Born, 2008) and based on the 2013 book, Sweetening the Pill, by Holly Grigg-Spall. The film is due out next year.

Most women know little more about the pill and other forms of hormonal contraception than what the drug company ads tell them, but a day-long symposium to be held at Georgetown University in Washington on August 8 is geared to rectifying that knowledge gap.

Contraceptive Conundrums: Effects and Side Effects” is open to anyone interested in the issue and includes presentations on the effects of the pill on partner choice (yes, it does affect that), libido, women’s hormonal system, the brain, as well as nutritional issues and likely effects on the fetus of getting pregnant while on the pill (and that happens too).

An academic with the intriguing name of Lionel Tiger, who is Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, will also speak. Dr Tiger is known for bringing biological and social data together and, according to his website, is currently “focused on day care, young males, the pill, college demographics, the workforce, and the ways in which humans are becoming progressively more and more alienated from their biological roots.”

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is a New Zealand journalist with a special interest in family issues. She began her working life as a secondary school teacher but always fancied the life of the scribe. Too late, she...