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Recent advances in contraception.

Shearman RP
Medical Journal of Australia. 1981 Jan 24; 1(4):55-7.

Differences in contraceptive technology available in a developed country (Australia) vs. an underdeveloped country may be as important in explaining a lack of enthusiasm for fertility control as the differences in sociocultural views of children and child worth. In Australia, a large number of women and couples are unhappy with the existing methods of contraception because of potentially lethal side effects (cardiovascular and carcinogenic effects of oral contraceptives and chance of pelvic sepsis with intrauterine forms of fertility control). These anxieties in many women in developed countries who use contraception for child spacing rather than for absolute infertility may outweigh the short term goal of family size choice. New methods are needed. But the recent withdrawal of private funds and the reliance on public funding sources has skewed the types of research and development occurring since the mid-1970s. 1 feasible method was a vaccine against pregnancy (via immunologically controlling either the zona pellucida or sperm); but lack of funds and ethical considerations have effectively halted research into this method. 3 current reviews of contraceptive technology, aimed at the clinical practitioner, have discussed risk-benefit of common contraceptive agents, the possibility of pregnancy interception, and the potential of injectable regimens for women in developed countries. The longest review, by Fraser and Weisberg, explains how taking standard oral contraceptive preparations within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse can intercept a pregnancy without the need for constantly ingesting these preparations.

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