(Image courtesy of the New York Post)
An implant is a long-term contraceptive option that releases hormones to protect users from pregnancies. The birth control implant is a small rod, about the size of a matchstick, that is inserted into the upper arm by a healthcare provider. After insertion, the implant will release the hormone progestin to inhibit pregnancies.
Progestin is responsible for thickening the mucus around the cervix, making it harder for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs. Progestin also prevents ovulation, or the release of an egg during the monthly cycle. Without an egg to fertilize, the chance of pregnancy is greatly reduced.
The implant is one of the most effective birth control methods available as fewer than 1 out of 100 users ever experience a pregnancy. The implant serves as a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of method that requires minimal effort from users after insertion and protects them from pregnancy for up to 5 years. Additionally, when a user decides to experience pregnancy, then a nurse or doctor can remove the implant and the discontinued user can get pregnant immediately.
The implant is useful for addressing a range of health concerns other than an unintended pregnancy. Implants have been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of menstruation, protect against symptomatic pelvic inflammatory disease, and protect against iron-deficiency anemia. Implants are suitable for egg producers of all ages, but people between the ages of 18 and 35 are more likely to have used an implant as a contraceptive.
Most health insurance plans provide full coverage for all methods of contraception. Implants are one of the most cost effective methods, because they can last up to 5 years. Even without health insurance, the use of a contraceptive implant can save money over a longer period of time than constantly using other one off methods.
Implants serve as one of many contraceptive options available to egg producers and have had a tremendous impact in giving people the ability to control their reproduction. However, research is still ongoing to provide sperm producers the same level of control. MCI is supporting research efforts to develop a novel long-acting reversible implant that can serve as a male contraceptive device over an extended period of time.
Nuts & Bolts: What are Implants?
To learn more, please visit our series of posts about male reproduction and contraception:
The Royal Women's Hospital. (n.d.). Contraceptive implants. The Royal Women's Hospital. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/contraception/contraceptive-implants
Frederiksen, B., Long, M., Salganicoff, A., & Ranji, U. (2021, April 21). Women's sexual and reproductive health services: Key findings from the 2020 KFF Women's Health Survey. KFF. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/womens-sexual-and-reproductive-health-services-key-findings-from-the-2020-kff-womens-health-survey/