The increasing numbers of pregnancies in the country, both wanted and unwanted do not change the fact that a lot of partners are not using the right forms of protection or contraception. This in turn leads to unsafe abortions that we lose so many of our women and unborn babies to. Pills are available, injections too, but the average Zambian has no access to proper medical facilities, or simply does not know what options are there.
So, this is where tech meets fertility. A new microchip that controls your fertility could be a way of, how do I put this, managing the population in Zambia and avoiding the increasing levels of abortion. It is being developed by Microchips, a company that produces programmeable drug delivery, with funding from Bill Gates.
The contraceptive is supposed to be inserted under the skin and then wirelessly controlled with a remote control device to produce levonorgestrel , a birth control drug that prevents fertilization of an egg and sperm after a couple ‘gets it on’.
According to MedLine Plus, Levonorgestrel is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse (sex without any method of birth control or with a birth control method that failed or was not used properly [e.g., a condom that slipped or broke or birth control pills that were not taken as scheduled]).
The microchip makes the issue of medical access and improper use of contraceptives a thing of the past as this chip can work for up to 16 years and can be switched on and off as required by a couple trying to plan their family.
What are the possible complications?
The drug it releases are harmful in excess to your body. Even though they can be controlled by means of a remote device, there are hackers who can get into the chip’s operating system and give it commands to release the drug in unsafe amounts. This is especially dangerous for an expectant mother who may lose her child to the excess levels. Why would anyone want to hack in and destroy a child, you may ask? Well, people can be cruel sometimes.
Why I don’t think it would work in Zambia, just yet…
The typical urban woman knows how to work with her fertility and can control it. The typical rural woman is surrounded by myths and beliefs that the more children she has the better for the tribe/village. A microchip in the rural areas would take a lot of convincing to be accepted in those parts. We know the rural areas NEED this because there are high levels of pregnancies there.
Then there’s the HIV/AIDS issue. We haven’t controlled that yet so advocating for a pregnancy-free gadget is going to reduce pregnancies but increase rates of infections. The fear of getting tested is far from over in Zambia, as is the use of anti-retroviral drugs as people live in denial of their status or don’t want to be seen in medical centres getting medicine.
The chip is supposed to be available in 2018 according to some reports so the cost of the implant is not yet known. For now we will have to stick to pills, injections, condoms and abstinence.
Image Credit: Mashable