Contraceptives have always been a sensitive subject, as it always concerns both science and religion. And for the most part, both parties contradict one another. This time around, it looks like controversy may strike again as scientists have created a birth control chip that releases an amount of levonorgestrel, a hormone that is commonly used in contraceptives.
The chip, which looks as big as a fingernail, is implanted under a woman?s skin. Then every day, an electric charge will melt an ultra-thin seal that allows the levonorgestrel hormone to be released to the body. The chip contains enough hormones to last for 16 years.
If a woman decides she wants to conceive, she can choose to deactivate the device through a wireless remote control. This will simply prevent the chip from releasing hormones. She can then reactivate the device anytime she pleases.
The scientists are still figuring out some challenges with the device such as security. For example, the activation and deactivation of the device through the remote control by another person can be an issue. They said that they are currently working on developing a secure encryption that prevents anybody from remotely controlling the device.
Certainly, this is a huge advancement in science. Scientists say that this is only the beginning as the same technology can also be used on other drugs, although implanted technology comes with a lot of potential risks and challenges.
Simon Karger, surgical and interventional business head at Cambridge Consultants, said that ?the value to the patient of these types of implants can be huge and we foresee a future in which a huge range of conditions are treated through smart implanted system.?
The project is being funded by the Bill Gates? foundation, and will be submitted for pre-clinical tests next year. It is expected to reach the market by 2018. The device has yet to receive a price tag although the creators said it will be ?competitively priced.?