Five new methods of birth control explained
Sorry guys, this one’s for the girls.Or, maybe not. After all, despite the fact that the male birth control pill is still a researcher’s dream (see sidebar, “The Boys and the Bees”), birth control is (or should be) the province of both sexes. There just happens to be a slight imbalance, financially and physiologically: guys have to think about condoms; girls have to weigh many more options, ones that require trips to the doctor, prescriptions, and occasionally, the insertion of foreign objects into our bodies (no pun intended; grow up).
Sex — and attempts to avoid its natural consequences — have been around for rather a while now. In the 20th century, the innovations were both chemical and physical — the intra-uterine device (IUD), the birth-control pill, the diaphragm, the made-famous-by-Seinfeld sponge. Some of these proved popular (the Pill), others caused controversy (the IUD), others faded into oblivion (have you ever met a diaphragm user?). There were flares of innovation along the way, such as the six-rod Norplant implant in the 1990s, or the contraceptive patch, introduced earlier this decade. A lot of improvements were limited to fine-tuning the chemical cocktail that makes up prescription-issue pills, to improve effectiveness and reduce negative side effects for women with different tolerances for hormones involved in the reproductive cycle.
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