More than 50 women in Sweden who said they used the Natural Cycles app as contraception ended up pregnant and reported their cases to the Medical Product Agency, according to a statement from Natural Cycles. The app, a certified contraceptive in Europe, has about the same failure rates as the pill, but only under certain circumstances, according to experts. "Natural methods, when used correctly, are very very effective," Richard J. Fehring, professor, and director of the Marquette University College of Nursing Institute for Natural Family Planning, told International Business Times. The Natural Cycles app uses an algorithm to calculate the days a woman is fertile and therefore most likely to get pregnant and when used properly, it claims to be about as effective as the pill. The app requires that users take their temperature each morning and input it into the app, then after some calculations, the app says whether users are "not fertile," or should "use protection."
A simple birth control method for men is about to begin testing, with researchers hoping a new topical gel will give men an alternative to contraceptive method outside of vasectomies and condoms. Clinical testing is set to begin in April as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will conduct the largest U.S. effort to test a hormonal birth control for men. The gel itself can simply be rubbed onto the user's skin, although the researchers suggest that it not be placed directly on one's genitals. The same team of researchers conducted a 2012 trial that combined the application of two gels and the the number of sperm in the test subjects' semen dropped to less than 1 million per millilitre, MIT Technology Review reports. That number is far below the average 15 to 200 million sperm per millilitre that would actually decrease chances of fertility.
Second, this study only investigated the chances that birth control increases one's risk of breast cancer. But birth control does other things, too: The pill seems to lower the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers, for example. If taking hormonal contraceptives comes with a slight uptick in breast cancer risk and a slight downtick in other cancer risks, that might be an even trade. And not for nothing, hormonal contraception also does a pretty spectacular job at lowering the risk of another major health problem for women: unplanned pregnancy. Medicine should not be assessed only by its rare side effects.
The science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein once wrote, "Each generation thinks it invented sex." He was presumably referring to the pride each generation takes in defining its own sexual practices and ethics. But his comment hit the mark in another sense: Every generation has to reinvent sex because the previous generation did a lousy job of teaching it. In the United States, the conversations we have with our children about sex are often awkward, limited, and brimming with euphemism. At school, if kids are lucky enough to live in a state that allows it, they'll get something like 10 total hours of sex education.1
The Trump administration's new birth control rule is raising questions among some doctors and researchers. WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration's new birth control rule is raising questions among some doctors and researchers, who say it overlooks known benefits of contraception while selectively citing data that raise doubts about effectiveness and safety. Here's a look at examples from the Trump administration's birth control rules that are raising questions: Emergency contraception is birth control for use after unprotected sex, often called the "morning-after pill." The Trump administration's rule takes issue with the science behind the Obama-era decision to require most employers to cover birth control as preventive care.
FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2016, file photo, a one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed in Sacramento, Calif. The Trump administration's new birth control rule is raising questions among some doctors and researchers. They say it overlooks known benefits of contraception while selectively citing data that raise doubts about effectiveness and safety. Recently issued rules allow more employers to opt out of covering birth control as a preventive benefit for women under former President Barack Obama's health care law.
But the mandate has drawn strong and sustained opposition from social conservatives, who see it as an infringement on freedom of conscience. The Obama administration exempted houses of worship, and set up a workaround for religiously affiliated nonprofits, such as hospitals, universities and social service organizations. The Supreme Court later ruled that closely held private companies were also eligible for the workaround, through which the government arranges contraceptive coverage for the affected women employees.
From edible drones delivering lifesaving assistance to rural communities to quadcopters tracking illegal logging in rainforests, here are just a few of the recent ways people have used drones for social good. Last year, a tech company called Lung Biotechnology PBC acquired 1,000 of EHang's drones, capable of carrying humans, for its Manufactured Organ Transport vehicle system (MOTH). In Ghana, the United Nations Population Fund (the U.N.'s arm in charge of improving family planning in the developing world) is flying drones to deliver birth control pills, condoms, and other medical supplies to people in remote regions, where there is little-to-no access to contraceptives. In 2015, four women's rights groups launched drones to deliver abortion pills from Germany across the border to Poland, where women were only allowed to have legal abortions in cases of rape or incest.
If I told you there was a delivery app for birth control, you might disregard it as just another Silicon Valley-based subscription service, designed to excuse you from ever leaving your house again. But Nurx, which prescribes birth control online and mails it to users, isn't a boutique service for busy urbanites. It just might be a key player in blowing birth-control access wide open, especially as women's reproductive health becomes increasingly politicized in the U.S. The way Nurx works is simple: you register for a free account online, fill out a questionnaire of basic medical inquiries, exchange a few instant messages with a licensed doctor, and receive a package in the mail containing your birth-control method of choice. There are no consultation or delivery fees, so in most cases if you have insurance, it's free. If you don't have insurance, then you pay only for the cost of the medication itself.
Then comes Planned Parenthood's general information page about birth control methods--it's unwieldy and text-heavy, putting the burden on the reader to click through every page from top to bottom, or to know exactly what they're looking for. It's easy to find sites listing efficacy rates and side effects, but you rarely get a sense of what it's like to live with a given method of birth control every day. "There's a lack of curation and quality and accuracy of information that women can find about birth control options online," says Christine Dehlendorf, director of the Program in Woman-Centered Contraception at UC San Francisco. Iodine asks users questions with Google Consumer Surveys, which function kind of like ad veils on online content.