Backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a Massachusetts-based biotech company called MicroCHIPS has created an implantable contraceptive chip.
Inserted under the skin,the chip lasts 16 years and can be turned on or off by remote control.
The Mail Online reports: For many women, taking the contraceptive pill is one in a long list of things to remember every day.
But scientists have invented an electronic chip that when slipped under the skin releases daily doses of contraceptive, freeing a woman from the need to remember to take the pill.
Once in place, the postage stamp-sized device works for up to 16 years – roughly half a woman’s reproductive life.
In contrast, the various contraceptive implants that are already on the market only last for up to five years.
Finally, in a development that sounds like science fiction, the chip comes with a remote control that allows the woman to simply turn it off if she decides to try for a family.
When she needs contraception again, she can turn it back on just as easily.
There are concerns about the technology however… Professor Charles Kingsland, of the Hewitt Fertility Centre in Liverpool, described it as ‘interesting but a bit Big Brother.’
He said: ‘Of course there are contraceptive implants widely available at present that are easy to insert and very effective at drug delivery.
‘This new device however has the ability to be switched on and off remotely. One concern to me would therefore be who does the switching on and off.’
Now, as part of the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation Family Planning program, the team, led by MIT’s Robert Langer, is adapting it for contraceptives, and hopes to have FDA approval for pre-clinical trials next year, with a view to have it available on the market by 2018.
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