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#femtech friday: Contraception

Hello Femtechers! Today’s #femtechfriday was inspired by our last event in collaboration with Cambridge Reproduction on the past, present and future of contraception. Here we created a short guide on the major types of contraception, how they act and what you might expect from them! This is by no means medical advice - you should always consult with your doctor if you are thinking of assuming medical contraceptives.

Contraception (birth control) consists in methods to prevent pregnancy. These can include barrier methods, hormonal contraception, intrauterine devices (IUDs), sterilization, and behavioral methods. These are used before or during sex, however some emergency contraceptives can also be used for up to five days after sex. Although both men and women are equally involved in sexual acts, currently the majority of contraceptive methods target the female reproductive system, making contraception a very relevant topic in the femtech sector. Moreover, current contraceptive strategies seem to be far from perfect: about 1 in 3 women don't like the type of contraception they’re using, with 78% of users getting side effects from contraception. Most contraceptives are prescribed by GPs, who may have limited training in the area, and 1 in 3 women in the UK currently can’t get hold of contraception from where they want to.

The future of contraception sees a greater focus on personalised medicine, to tackle different effects that contraception can have on users based on genetic and environmental factors. During our Cambridge Reproduction Forum we heard from two key players in personalised contraception: The Lowdown and Dama Health. The Lowdown is a contraception review, advice and prescriptions platform that’s on a mission to change women’s health. Their personalised approach to contraception is further supported by teams of doctors. Lowdown's mission is to change the way that people choose, access and use their contraception. Dama Health uses pharmacogenetic research to offer women and clinicians personalised contraception recommendations, using a genetic test and an automated matching system. Womens' preferences, medical history and specific requirements are always taken into account.

What do you think about the current state of contraception? What do we need to learn?

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