How long did it take you to decide on your best daily makeup look? How long did it take you to find a hairstylist that you like? (Let me know, because I’m still looking for one!) How long did it take you to figure out what types of period products are best for you? Once you’ve got a system in place that works for you, you would want to change it.

There are just about as many types of products are there are types of periods. For some, menstrual cups are an amazing option, and we get asked a lot about whether The Monthly accepts these as a donation.  We were surprised by how many of our supporters wanted to donate menstrual cups. If you’re scratching your head right now and saying “menstrual cup?” you’re not alone.  For a quick primer of menstrual cups and other period products you might not know about take a click here, but the gist is that it’s a reusable, flexible cup that’s placed internally as an alternative to pads or tampons. Right now, we find that our recipients prefer pads, and to a lesser extent tampons, and that there just isn’t a demand for menstrual cups.  

We love that people want to donate these items – and we love their passion for the product! So why do we think that don’t the women and girls we serve don’t want to use menstrual cups? Great question! This could be for any number of reasons, including that a woman may not have a reliably safe and private space to clean her cup when she needs.  There are so many different brands and styles of cup that the first one (or second or third!) that a person tries may not be right, and there’s a learning curve associated with cup use that not everyone can conquer.  Research has shown that it takes at least three months for a cup newbie to figure out how to use it properly, and not everyone has the luxury to deal with three months of leaks and what that means in stained underwear or back-up pads.  There’s also some academic research that has found that product preference is tied to age and to certain sociocultural factors.  Ensuring that people of all backgrounds have access to their preferred menstrual hygiene products is not only appropriate, but of paramount importance to respecting the dignity and worth of the women and girls we serve.

We try to make sure that everyone can have the products they prefer, so if we start to hear increasing requests for cups, we will be sure to put a call out for them! For now, give us a shout in advance if you’re really set on donating cups. We love that you, our donors, help us get the right kinds of products to people who need them.