Miyola Cia Fernandes, BDS, MSc
Contraceptives are a commonly used product, but it isn’t a new-age method. Few of these were introduced centuries back while some are fairly new. Check out the list below to know the origin of contraceptives other than the commonly used condoms.
2000 Years Back: Female Condoms
The first female condom is reputed to have been used over 2,000 years ago in Ancient Greece. Female condoms are made from thin, soft plastic called polyurethane. Female condoms are worn inside the vagina and can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex.
In 1823, Blundell first suggested tubal ligation for sterilization before the Medical Society of London. It blocks the fallopian tubes, which link the ovaries to the womb (uterus). Blocked tubes can re-join immediately or years later.
The 1st recorded vasectomy was performed on a dog by Cooper in 1823. The tubes that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis are cut blocked or sealed. Vasectomy is usually carried out under local anesthetic and takes about 15 minutes. Male sterilization is considered permanent.
1838: Contraceptive Cap
It is reported to be first described by a German gynecologist in 1938. It is a circular dome made of thin and soft silicone. After insertion, it cap shouldn’t be removed until at least 6 hours after the last intercourse. To be effective in preventing pregnancy, the cap needs to be used in combination with spermicide.
The vaginal diaphragm was used for the first time in 1842. A diaphragm is a circle of silicone inserted into the vagina before sex. The diaphragm must be left in place for at least 6 hours after sex and washed after taking it out (they’re reusable).
1909: Intrauterine device or coil
The first published paper on actual IUD insertions was made by Dr Richard Richter in 1909 in Germany. An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse.
It was invented by a chemist in Mexico City called Dr. Carl Djerassi in the late 1940s. It contains the hormone progestogen but doesn’t contain estrogen.
1969: Contraceptive injection
It is reported to be first used in 1969. The contraceptive injection releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. The injection lasts for 8, 12 or 13 weeks (depending on the type).
1983: Contraceptive Implant
Permitted for use first time in Finland in 1983. It is a thin, flexible rod inserted under the skin in the upper arm. Once the implant is in place, it can provide contraceptive protection for up to 3 years. The implant can be removed at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse.
2001: Vaginal ring
It was approved for use in 2001. The vaginal ring is a small, soft plastic ring that you place inside your vagina. It’s about 4mm thick and 5.5cm in diameter. One ring will provide contraception for a month.
2003: Contraceptive patch
It was marketed for the first time in 2003. It is a sticky patch, similar to a nicotine patch. It delivers hormones into the body through the skin. The effect of each patch lasts a week.