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Geneva, World Health Organization, 1966. (Technical Report Series NO. 332).The value and possible hazards of IUDs are discussed. Grafenberg developed a metal ring IUD in 1928. There was initial enthusiasm about the device, but it became discredited and interest was not revived in the method until 1959. Today, various shapes, sizes, and materials are employed in making IUD'S. No single cause or mechanism of action of an IUD has so far come to light. In sub-human primates the IUD causes accelerated passage of ova through the tube and the rest of the reproductive tract appears to be the major, but not necessarily the only, mechanism, of action. In ruminants, the contraceptive action of the IUD is exerted, at least in part, at the ovarian level. In rats, mice, rabbits, and ferrets, the main effect of the IUD is suppression of the implantation. It is concluded that the action of the IUDs in the human species is exerted before the stage of implantation. The most effective devices are associated with an incidence of 1.8 to 2.9 pregnancies per 100 insertions during the first year of use. The frequency of spontaneous expulsion ranges from about 5% to over 20% depending on the type of device. About one half of all expulsions occur in the first 3 months and comparatively few after the first year. The incidence of removal for medical reasons ranges from approximately 10% to 25% of first insertions during the first year. The method can be used successfully by almost 3 out of every 4 women who adopt it. Side effect and complications include bleeding and pain and less frequently pelvic inflammatory disease and perforation. The only absolute contraindications to the use of IUDs are: (1) active pelvic inflammatory disease, and (2) pregnancy, proven or suspected. Research needs are noted.