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Bill Gates bringing computer technology to birth control

Birth control may soon be possible via remote controlled computer chip
Birth control may soon be possible via remote controlled computer chip
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In a futuristic and somewhat creepy new approach to birth control, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing funds for a pre-clinical trial that would involve a computer chip being implanted under a woman’s skin. Though the new birth control option is in the research stages, scientists believe it could be available to the public by 2018.

CBS News reported on Tuesday that the new birth control technology could allow a woman to manage her own contraception via the single chip for up to 16 years. The chip, implanted under the skin on a woman’s arm, abdomen or buttocks could be operated via remote-control. At the push of a button, levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone used in many birth control pills on the market, would be administered.

With such direct access, a woman could essentially decide when to take the dose of levonorgestrel and when to allow her body the chance to conceive. The new technology, being developed by a company called MicroCHIPS, may be quite unsettling to some.

Though the company is already behind some other technology in which prescription drugs are given via chip implants, this new technology may seem too far-fetched and oddly futuristic to women who have grown up with their main option being a pill. An implant under the skin may seem too robotic, too personal, or too invasive to many women.

There are bound to be religious objections and also the concern that we may be headed down a slippery slope at the end of which medical implants are no longer given as a choice. And of course, as with all computer technology, there is the concern that technology can “glitch” or fail, which could bring about unwanted pregnancy or health risks. Invasion of privacy and right to personal information are also serious issues that need to be considered. Serious lifestyle, health and legal ramifications may follow our ever-thirsty quest for new medical breakthroughs.

As convenience does not always equal wisdom, we must ask ourselves if even though the new birth control technology is possible, is it wise? There will undoubtedly be much discussion accompanying the new possibilities in medicine. Would you consider a birth control implant? Why or why not? Join the conversation in the comments section below.

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