No-semen pills and remote-control chips: The future of contraception?

SHABNAM DASTGHEIB
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2015
Robert Banks

A THING OF THE PAST? Traditional latex condoms could soon be replaced by more high-tech options such as remote-controlled chips.

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A remote-controlled contraceptive chip. An "origami condom". An internal ring that can kill off HIV as well as preventing pregnancy.

No, James Bond hasn't branched into the contraceptive industry - these high-tech options are grounded in reality and could actually soon be part of modern-day pregnancy prevention.   

British-based Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor has collated a list of several new-age products that are all currently in development.

The futuristic options include something called a "clean sheets pill", a no-mess, no-hormone tablet for men.  

Many of the developments are undergoing trials overseas or awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval.

Family Planning New Zealand said a few new methods should be making it to our shores over the next five to 10 years, and existing contraception methods - the most popular being the pill and condoms - will be further refined.   

National medical advisor Christine Roke shared her opinion on a few of the options with Stuff:

Male injection: A gel is inserted into the vas deferens, or the sperm escape tube, to block it and render sperm motionless. It is 100 per cent effective for up to 10 years.

Roke says she wouldn't necessarily rely on this method herself, and would be surprised if there was much of a market for it. She says she would like to see more on its long-term efficacy, and the results from human trials. She believes this method is at least a few years away from market use.

Remote-control contraceptive: A small contraceptive computer chip implanted under the arm and controlled by a remote has been developed in the US. It will be effective for up to 16 years and can be turned on and off when trying for a baby. This could be on sale overseas as early as 2018.

Roke says a longer-term contraception like this is a good idea, but questions whether controlling the remote would be problematic.  

Female origami condom: This folded-up silicon contraceptive is inserted into the vagina and stretches during intercourse, with ribs to keep it in place. Roke sees this as an improvement on the existing female condom. This is currently undergoing tests.

Clean sheets pill: Given its nickname because of the no-mess factor. It is non-hormonal and stops the release of semen while still maintaining the same sensations and muscle contractions for men as before. Roke says this is interesting but needs to be properly investigated in human trials.

Intra-vaginal ring: This birth-control vaginal ring also releases a product that would kill off HIV and herpes. It is still awaiting trials. Roke has not heard enough on this one to comment.

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