A Brief History of Intrauterine Devices

Back in the 1950’s the first birth control was invented and developed. By 1960 it hit the market as an oral contraceptive. Controversy aside, this new method of preventing pregnancy revolutionized the drug industry, and since its invention pharmaceutical companies have been trying to find a way to administer birth control without the patient having to worry about taking a pill every day. An intrauterine device (IUD) of some sort has been the most pursued method.

In 1965 one of the first IUD’s hit the market. For almost 20 years the Saf-T-Coil was prescribed to individuals seeking an easier form of birth control. It had problems, and it was faced with a number of lawsuits that claimed it caused personal injury.

By 1971 the Dalkon Shield was being prescribed. The device was highly effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy, but it was never fully tested as to how it would affect the woman’s body. After hundreds of thousands of women used the product, and many of them were injured because of a poor design, the shield was taken off the market. The manufacturer went bankrupt because of all the lawsuits.

Around 1974 the Cu-7 was sold. This device relied on the naturally spermicidal properties of copper rather than artificial hormones. While this method does work, it is not nearly as effective as those relying on hormone inducing chemicals. It was pulled from the market after 12 years when its popularity dried up due to ineffectiveness and the physical harm it caused to the user.

In 2000 the Mirena IUD was approved by the FDA. The manufacturer claimed that it was safe for all women to use, even though those claims are largely unsubstantiated. The device, however, is known to cause uterine perforation, and can be expelled from the uterus.

The bottom line is that there have been a large number of IUD’s that come and go through the years, and each one ends up being pulled from the market due to the physical damage it can do to the body. If you have been thinking about using an IUD to help prevent pregnancy, it might be wiser to take a different route until a device is made that doesn’t damage the body.