Quite apart from the Pill, several other methods of contraception are
also available, and some of these are relatively popular.
Some women do not like the concept of the Pill, believing it has not been
around for a sufficient number of years for its true probable
long-term effects to be really established. They have horrible
forebodings that it may cause cancer later in life, or probably in
their next generation. Although there is no basis for this on
today's knowledge, their views are nevertheless appreciated. But the
big problem comes when they ask about alternative forms of
The next most widely practiced method in the Western world is at present
the intra-uterine contraceptive device, commonly referred to as the
I.U.C.D. or simply I.U.D.
The concept has been around for fifty years or more, and past models,
formed mainly of metals, were in use about fifty years ago. The most
widely used was the Graafenberg ring, but this fell into disfavour
because haemorrhages occurred as well as infections.
But with the advent of the plastics era in the late
a new form of the I.U.D. suddenly caught on. Plastic is
very well tolerated by the body, which tends to shed it far less
readily than other substances. Thus the current models were hatched.
Some of the early devices were not very satisfactory
but many modifications have since taken place. Now, smaller devices,
frequently with a fine filament of copper wire wrapped around them,
are used with considerable success.
In fact, they have been given the official recommendation in Australia,
and most Western countries use them widely. The presence of the
device, often shaped like a figure
several effects. These are enhanced by the copper which gradually is
shed into the uterine cavity. Not only does this kill male
reproductive cells, but the device itself helps check products of
conception from being embedded in the endometrium, the lining of the
uterus, which happens in normal pregnancy. In short, pregnancy is
prevented in many cases. If it occurs, what many claim is a
miscarriage, takes place. Whatever the mechanical reason, the
pregnancy rate is reduced, and protection for the woman is greatly
Some women find it a good idea to use a spermicidal cream or jelly for
additional protection at the time when ovulation is due. This is
when pregnancy risks are at their peak.
could give the method additional efficacy, and may be worth while in
those choosing this form of protection.
It is essential that the device be very accurately and carefully fitted,
preferably by a competent gynaecologist. It seems that if not placed
in the exact place where it should be,
efficacy wanes considerably.