Forms of birth control have been around for decades, and after the fog of shame and congressional gatekeeping lifted in the 1960s, birth control became more available and prevalent. One of the most popular and effective forms of birth control has been the IUD. The IUD or Intrauterine Device was initially conceived in 1909 when Dr. Richard Richter used insertions of a silkwood ring into the uterus.
In the 1920s, Dr. Ernest Grafenberg and Dr. Karl Prust also created silkwood rings for uterine insertion with varying degrees of modification to Richter’s original design. These IUD’s were reported to have an effective rate of 97% against pregnancies. Dr. Grafenberg, in a later revision, used pure silver around the ring and unfortunately, the women’s bodies absorbed the silver with their gums turning blue and black (gingival argyrosis). He used a silver alloy made from a mix of different metals, including copper, which alleviated the silver absorption problem and also increased the effective rate to 98.4% against pregnancy.
Copper would play a part later on in the century with doctors discovering the effect that copper has on sperm, which increased effectiveness against pregnancy to 99%. These copper-wired IUD’s would later come into the market in 1988 under the Paragard name.
There have been some misfires on the road to the IUD’s of today. The A.H. Robins Company in 1971 put an IUD on the market called the Dalkon Shield. The marketing for this IUD was aggressive and was priced modestly compared to other IUD’s on the market. In 1974, it was pulled from the market due to a poorly-designed removal string that caused bacteria to enter the uterus. These bacteria caused thousands of women to develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), infertility, and in some cases, sepsis. There were over 300,000 lawsuits filed against A.H. Robins in the late 1970s which caused the company to go bankrupt and fold.
There are five different kinds of IUD brands today, which consist of Skyla, Kyleena, Lilleta, Mirena, and Paragard. The first four are known as hormonal IUD’s because they contain the hormone Progestin (Levonorgestrel) which mimics the naturally-produced hormone Progesterone. These hormones help thicken mucus in the cervix, which can block and trap sperm from reaching the egg. In some cases, the hormones can stop the egg from leaving the ovaries, which eliminates the chance of impregnation due to no egg being available.
The fifth one listed, Paragard, is a copper-wrapped IUD with no hormones which can protect against pregnancy for 12 years. This is the most extended protection of any IUD available. The hormonal IUD’s protection range lasts anywhere from three years (Skyla) to seven years (Mirena and Lilleta). Paragard also carries the most risk associated with using it. Women have reported more massive period flows and more menstrual pain in comparison with other IUD’s. You can’t use Paragard if you’re allergic to copper or if you suffer from Wilson’s Disease.
One of the IUDs pros is that once it’s in, you’re done. Under normal circumstances, you can leave it in until you reach the end of its useful life. IUD’s also have the highest effectiveness against pregnancy short of total abstinence.
The cons of using an IUD are in the insertion process, which can be a bit painful. The pain could last for a few days after insertion, and there’s always a risk that the IUD could shift or even fall out, but that risk is small under normal circumstances.
If you’re interested in an IUD, please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner to learn more, we also created an FAQ the explains the process for getting an IUD.
Grisly photos of Chinese young woman Feng Jianmei as she was lying beside her baby which had been aborted by force in her seventh month of pregnancy have caused outrage in China.
Pictures purporting to show Feng Jianmei and her blood-covered baby have shocked anti-abortion groups in China – and fury is spreading around the world.
The mother told local media that she was forceably injected with a chemical to induce an abortion and her child was stillborn 36 hours later.
Because Feng Jianmei already had a child, she said, local birth-control authorities ordered her to pay a fine of $6,500.
She didn’t have the money, she said, so a team from the local family planning authority in Shannxi province came to collect her from her home and take her to hospital for the forced abortion.
Recounting the horror, Feng Jianmei said she told the family planning department she could not pay the fine because her mother-in-law needed money for cancer treatment.
It was then, she claimed, the authorities began their action against her.
Because Feng Jianmei already had a child, she said, local birth-control authorities ordered her to pay a fine of $6,500
Feng Jianmei said no less than 20 staff from the family planning department came to her home and placed her under arrest.
As they drove her to the hospital for a forced abortion, she began to resist – resulting in her being beaten.
At the hospital she was restrained and given an injection that would be lethal to the foetus. None of her family was allowed to be present during the traumatic time, she said.
Feng Jianmei said that her father-in-law heard about her being taken away but when he rushed to the hospital he was prevented from entering the obstetrics ward.
As outrage spread around anti-abortion groups in China, the authorities strenuously denied Feng Jianmei’s version of the events.
Li Yuongjou, deputy chief of Ankang’s family department, said the reality was that “Feng was not forced to abort”.
He said: “A lot of us tried for days to educate her. She agreed to the abortion herself.”
Li Yuongjou added that in China an abortion is allowed up to 28 weeks, saying: “It’s not illegal to conduct <<medium term>> induction of labor.”
And he admitted, however, that in his town the local target of enforcing the one-child policy had not been achieved for two consecutive years and the authorities were acting more strenuously to see that the target covering 95% of the population was reached.
Local media said it was most likely that Feng Jianmei had been injected with a chemical commonly known as Lifannuo – a powerful bactericide used in the late 1980s and early 1990s when China’s one-child policy was strongly pursued by authorities.
It is not known how Feng Jianmei managed to obtain photos of herself beside the aborted child, but anti-abortion groups said they were convinced the pictures were genuine.