Telemedicine Makes It Safe to Get Abortion Drugs in the Mail

Every restriction on access to abortion draws the metaphoric walls closer. On who can dispense drugs, on what clinical tests are required first, on how far along the pregnancy can be—the rules are all designed to delay, deter, and delegitimize. It’s a Death Star Trash Compactor. The box around abortion gets smaller and smaller. That’s policymaking; technology, meanwhile, tends to see boxes as something to think outside of. A long-awaited study published this week in the journal Contraception offers a way around tightening regulations: telemedicine. Abortion medication provided by mail, administered by a practitioner working via videoconference, could safely enlarge the geographic footprint of clinics and providers. “Many clinics already use telemedicine for other services,” says Elizabeth Raymond, a researcher …

YourChoice Therapeutics is developing unisex, non-hormonal birth control

The options available to women who want to avoid getting pregnant today are bad. Most, like the widely used birth control pill, feed man-made estrogen and progestin hormones to women, which are capable of causing a number of awful side effects. YourChoice Therapeutics — a startup launched by a team of Berkeley researchers, including two experts in sperm physiology and sperm-egg interactions — dreams of producing a unisex, non-hormonal alternative to existing contraceptives. The company has raised $400,000 in funding to date, plus a $150,000 check from Y Combinator. YourChoice will make its big pitch at Y Combinator Demo Days next week. It’s seeking $2 million in venture capital funding to continue research on its sperm cell-targeting novel method of …

Male Birth Control Could Actually Happen. But Do Men Want It?

This story is part of a week-long series on reproduction, from prenatal testing to childfree Reddit. On a recent morning in Los Angeles, Michael Medrano dabbed a teaspoon-sized glob of cold gel onto his shoulders. It’s just another part of his routine these days: Brush teeth, apply deodorant, comb hair, dab gel. The gel, which Medrano describes as having the consistency of hand sanitizer, contains testosterone and progestin, a hormonal composite that suppress his body’s natural production of sperm. Massaged into his skin, it functions as the only birth control he and his wife, Julia, will use for the next year and a half. A few years ago, Julia stopped taking Depo-Provera, an injectable form of hormonal birth control, which …

Natural Cycles contraception app told to clarify pregnancy risks

A multi-month investigation by Sweden’s Medical Products Agency into a number of unwanted pregnancies among users of ‘digital contraception’ app Natural Cycles has been closed after the startup agreed to clarify the risk of the product failing. But, on the self-reported data front, the agency said it was satisfied the number of unwanted pregnancies is in line with Natural Cycles’ own clinical evaluations which are included in the certification documentation for the product. In its marketing and on its website Natural Cycles describes the app-based system as “93% effective under typical use” — a finding that’s based on a clinical study it conducted of more than 22,000 of its users. The investigation by Sweden’s MPA began around eight months ago, after a …

Male Birth Control Could Actually Happen. But Do Men Want It?

This story is part of a week-long series on reproduction, from prenatal testing to childfree Reddit. On a recent morning in Los Angeles, Michael Medrano dabbed a teaspoon-sized glob of cold gel onto his shoulders. It’s just another part of his routine these days: Brush teeth, apply deodorant, comb hair, dab gel. The gel, which Medrano describes as having the consistency of hand sanitizer, contains testosterone and progestin, a hormonal composite that suppress his body’s natural production of sperm. Massaged into his skin, it functions as the only birth control he and his wife, Julia, will use for the next year and a half. A few years ago, Julia stopped taking Depo-Provera, an injectable form of hormonal birth control, which …