You may be familiar with contraceptives such as condoms, "the pill," and intrauterine devices (IUDs), but there's a lot of information surrounding these birth control methods that you'll likely find surprising. Here are five interesting facts that will enhance your knowledge of contraceptives.
- Mark your calendars! Chocolates and jewelry shouldn’t be the only romantic presents that are wrapped on Valentine’s Day. February 14 is also National Condom Awareness Day, so celebrate right. When things get intimate, show your partner you care and wear a "love-glove." Don’t forget about Global Female Condom Day either—it’s September 16th.
- What do science, fiction, and birth control pills all have in common? Carl Djerassi, inventor of "the pill.” Many sources attribute the development of oral contraceptives to John Rock and Gregory Pincus, both physicians who conducted the first oral contraceptive studies on animals and humans in the United States. But the pill’s conception goes back further than Rock and Pincus. Guinness World Records, Standford University, and most scientific sources credit Carl Djerassi for the chemical development of this form of contraceptives.
Djerassi, a chemist, first developed the synthetic hormones used in oral contraceptives from Mexican yams in the 1950s. We also have Djerassi to thank for antihistamines, drugs used to treat allergies.
Not the kind of guy to sit back and relish in past successes, Djerassi has published five science fiction novels depicting the lives and struggles of scientists. He has produced plays that incorporate science into theatre and also published short stories and poetry.
- Foreign-born women are three times as likely to use intrauterine devices (IUDs) than U.S.-born women, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Use of the IUD is on the rise in the U.S., but historically speaking, invasive female contraceptives aren't exactly new commodities. A lemon used as a cervical cap and the lemon juice's spermicidal properties are referenced in the autobiography of Cassanova, the famous 18th-century playboy.
- Birth control—is there an app for that? Not quite, but by 2018, microchips could very well be introduced as a form of birth control, thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Remote-controlled hormone implants that are smaller than a finger nail could be placed under the skin on the arm or the buttocks. The microchip will offer long-term protection that could be turned off should pregnancy become desirable.
- What do you get when you cross an accordion with a condom? A revolution. Condoms today look very similar to those used before the Wright Brothers successfully flew an airplane, but that could change in the near future. Pending several federal and global agency approvals, consumers may see the rise of a new era in condom making in late 2015. Origami Healthcare Products, Inc., is poised to release three new condom designs to the market: accordion-style male and female condoms and the first condom produced for anal sex. The male and female versions look more like accordions than the roll-ons we’re used to. The folds, Origami claims, will enhance the sexual experience.