Contraceptive Jewelry Could Provide Women A Sleek And Discreet New Form Of Birth Control

For years women have been having to deal with various, often annoying, methods of contraception. But there’s hope on the horizon. Scientists are being inspired by existing technology to come up with an idea for contraception to be delivered via jewelry! And it’s not just earrings, wristwatches, rings, or choker necklaces could all be fair game. 

While the idea of contraceptive jewelry might sound far-fetched, the idea has actually been in the works for some time. It takes the idea of skin patch technology that already exists, and adapts it. The contraceptive patch would work much the same thing as earring backs. It was a new bit of tehnology that was designed to look like jewelry.

The concept isn’t just about vanity or style, it’s also about discretion, as there are times when it’s needed, particularly, in certain cultures where birth control is still stigmatised, or in relationships where a partner may be against contraception.  

“Many jewelry items, such as earrings, rings, necklaces, wristwatches, and other items make direct contact with the skin and thereby could discreetly house a transdermal patch,” stated lead author Mark Prausnitz stated. 

Despite the availability of patch technology, the scientists still need to prove that it is actually safe and effective for human usage. This will require further research in order to see if the female population would be receptive to the idea.

So far, the jewelry, which contains the hormone levonorgestrel,has been tested on the ears of pigs and the skin of hairless rats. The results have been published in the Journal of Controlled Release. The earring patches have three layers: an impermeable adhesive that attaches to the earring back, one that contains the actual contraceptive drug, and a skin adhesive to keep it in place so the hormone can be absorbed by the body.

Since women will most likely want to remove the jewelry while sleeping, the researchers applied the patches for 16 hours and then removed them for 8 hours. Research showed that during this period, levonorgestrel levels dropped, but too low to be ineffective. However, the earring back will probably need to be changed every week. 

At the moment, the pill has a .03% failure rate with perfect use, but that rate jumps to 9% with typical use. There is also the options of a week-long transdermal patch or month-long vaginal rings,both of which must be administered by the self. With imperfect typical use, these methods have a 6-9% rate of failure. Implanted contraceptive methods such as intrauterine devices can last for many years and have the same failure rates for perfect use and typical use which varies between 0.05 and 0.2%.

Contraceptive jewelry isn’t meant to replace all birth control methods, but simply provide yet another alternative option. “Acceptability may be increased because wearing pharmaceutical jewelry feels less like a medical intervention and more like a component of normal daily activity,” Prausnitz said. 

“The more contraceptive options that are available, the more likely it is that the needs of individual women can be met.” 

Guess time will tell how women receive this new contraceptive method. What do you think of contraceptive jewelry? 

h/t: IFL Science

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