The word on the street is that a breakthrough revolutionary remote-controlled contraceptive implant is in the works. A company called MicroCHIPS has developed this new reproductive technology; a venture that has been funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The microchip is implanted under the skin where it releases a daily dose of hormones and can be turned on and off by the user and stays there for up to 16 years.
I for one am not excited about this new development. Don’t get me wrong, learning about new and innovative technology is always interesting and exciting, but just because you can produce something doesn’t mean that you should produce it.
When I read through recent articles about this new technology I notice something that I have questioned for so many years. With all of this flashy reproductive technology that has been developed for women over the years I have to wonder where is the corresponding reproductive technology for men? Do you think an article about an insertable contraceptive microchip for men would be widely received as a good idea? A remote control device that with a flip of a switch would make a man infertile (i.e. have him shooting blanks) for up to 16 years? Do you know any men that would be chomping at the bit to be part of that global experiment?
I immediately see the potential for misuse in a model like this. With this type of technology available it is possible for the device to be implanted against a woman’s wishes and controlled by someone else. Especially if this device is implemented in impoverished countries where there may be language barriers coupled with various agendas that do not align with the values of the women in those countries. According to this article there is a long history of medical experimentation in various African countries that often involves the implementation of injectable hormone contraceptives (i.e. depo provera) without the informed consent of the unwitting participants. In fact there are several articles linking the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the implementation of questionable medical testing with respect to hormonal contraceptives in various countries in Africa (source, source, source).
Not to mention the health implications associated with the use of hormonal contraceptives. Hormonal contraceptives like the pill and depo provera have numerous negative impacts on a woman’s health including an increased susceptibility to breast cancer, blood clots and strokes (source), depletion of the body’s nutrients such as folate, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium (source), and hormonal contraceptives permanently disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract (source).
As exciting as it is to have flashy new technology all technological advances do not automatically improve quality of life. This technology with its ability to render women infertile for up to 16 years with a switch of a button raises so many red flags in my mind that I can barely stand it. Just the mere action of inserting a microchip under one’s skin is enough to raise my suspicions. Maybe I’ve just watched one too many sci-fi movies, but seriously? You want to put a microchip under my skin? Also, everyone who owns any type of electrical device whether it is a cell phone, a garage door opener or a computer knows that every now and then they malfunction. If the microchip has enough hormones to be slowly released over 16 years, what happens when (not if) there is a malfunction? There have been reports that the use of depo provera have led to infertility and significant loss in bone density, and each shot of depo provera is only supposed to last for 3 months. What happens when 16 years worth of synthetic hormones are released into my bloodstream?! No thanks. I’ll pass.
On the other hand, teaching women to understand their fertile signs would place the control within the hands of the woman. When women learn to understand their fertile signs they could then pass the information down to their daughters and for generations to come. Regardless of the birth control methods women choose to use during certain periods of their lives, most women want the option of conceiving a healthy baby at some point. It’s time for women to take control of their fertility and their health instead of leaving it to the whims of big pharmaceutical companies. It’s time to develop a healthy degree of skepticism about hormonal contraceptives and start understanding their potential for causing negative effects on fertility. It’s also time to develop a level of common sense when it comes to reproductive technology. The way I see it, this microchip contraceptive technology will ultimately be used as a way to control global populations in impoverished nations. In the end, the companies creating and selling these products are not concerned with the long-term health implications that prolonged exposure to synthetic hormones will have on women’s health and fertility. They have other agendas to attend to.