The Evolution of Birth Control

Prior to the mid-twentieth century, the availability of birth control choices was quite limited. Thanks to the work of clinical research and the determined efforts of women’s rights advocates, you’d be surprised at the variety of birth control choices available today. Whether you are planning to start a family soon, or ten years down the line, there are now many selections available. Advancements in birth control have been and continue to be made possible, through the work of clinical research.

Humble Beginnings

Before modern birth control, many women depended on the less reliable methods such as occasional abstinence from sexual intercourse or withdrawal of the penis prior to ejaculation. With an obvious need for more, condoms made from fish bladders, linen sheaths, and animal intestines were the earliest forms of contraception developed around 3000 BC. Around the year 1500 AD, spermicides came into play, and then condoms and diaphragms made from vulcanized rubber were introduced in1838. 

The Comstock Act was passed in 1878, preventing public advertisement and postal distribution of birth control. Contraception freedom fighter Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in 1916. She faced numerous prosecutions and arrests until the Comstock Law was finally ended in 1938. 

The first oral contraceptives (birth control pills) were FDA approved in 1960. This paved the way by the early 2000s for IUDs and lower dose contraceptive hormones delivered through subcutaneous implants, vaginal rings, injections, and emergency contraception pills. 

The Future of Birth Control

Even though many varieties of birth control options now exist, effective birth control remains out of reach for many women. Clinical research is vital to ensure that ALL women have contraception options, no matter what their current diagnosis is, or whether their body functions differently from the usual. Additional research is also needed for male birth control breakthroughs, along with the prevention of STI’s (sexually transmitted infections)

Newly developed hormonal combinations, patches, organic birth control options, and many other possibilities are on the horizon. Clinical research studies are the key to getting us there. However, these studies are not possible without volunteers to participate in them. To learn more about how Seattle Women’s is helping to pave the way for advancement in birth control, call us at (206) 522-3330, or click here

References:

https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Practice-Bulletins/Committee-on-Practice-Bulletins-Gynecology/Long-Acting-Reversible-Contraception-Implants-and-Intrauterine-Device

https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book-excerpts/health-article/a-brief-history-of-birth-control/

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