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Remote Controlled Contraceptive Chip a Possibility by 2018

Update Date: Jul 08, 2014 03:00 PM EDT

According to researchers from MicroCHIP Inc. in Massachusetts, a remote controlled contraceptive chip could be a possibility for women over the next few years. The project, which was backed by Bill Gates, involves a small chip that gets injected underneath the skin where it can deliver a hormone and act as automatic birth control. The chip will be submitted for pre-clinical testing within the U.S.

The chip, which measures 20mm by 20mm by 7mm, contains a hormone known as levonorgestrel. When the chip gets implanted, it will automatically release small doses of the hormone, which is used in many different kinds of birth control. The creators of the chip stated that once implanted, the device could last up to 16 years. If women want to get off of birth control, all they need to do is deactivate the chip via a wireless remote control. The manufacturers added that the chip can be implanted under the skin of the buttocks, upper arm or abdomen.

"The ability to turn the device on and off provides a certain convenience factor for those who are planning their family," said Dr. Robert Farra from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) according to BBC News. "Communication with the implant has to occur at skin contact level distance. Someone across the room cannot re-program your implant. Then we have secure encryption. That prevents someone from trying to interpret or intervene between the communications."

The chip could regularize women's birth control routine and reduce the number of doctor visits. Due to busy schedules, many women on birth control might forget to take their pill occasionally. This chip would eliminate the fear of accidentally skipping a pill. If the chip's pre-clinical testing is a success, it could potentially be available by 2018 with an approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The chip will be "competitively priced."

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