Copper pearls: The latest in hormone-free contraception

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The copper pearls are a birth control method that requires no hormones and is effective for up to 5 years.

The copper pearls work along the same principle as other intrauterine devices and prevents pregnancy locally, within the uterus. The contraceptive effect comes mainly from the copper.

The copper pearls consist of a special shape memory alloy which has been successfully used in medicine for a long time, for example in implants and stents. Several copper pearls are strung on a uterus-friendly frame, coated with polymer.

Comparable with standard copper intrauterine devices, the IUB™:

  • is a hormone-free contraceptive;
  • prevents pregnancy within the uterus;
  • is effective for up to 5 years;
  • does not affect the libido and bone metabolism;
  • has no influence on ovulation;
  • does not cause weight increase;
  • is an alternative to permanent sterilisation.

Since the IUB™ is one third to a half of the size of traditional intrauterine devices, it can be inserted almost painlessly without local anaesthesia. Once the IUB™ is placed in the uterus it forms a three-dimensional spherical shape. The IUB™ is available in three different sizes ranging from 12mm to 18mm in diameter. Your doctor will advise you which size is most suitable for you.

“The amount of copper released from the copper pearls is minimal.”

How do the copper pearls work?

As soon as the copper pearls is placed in your uterus, it starts releasing small amounts of copper into your uterus to provide continuous birth control for up to five years. This method is similar to standard copper intrauterine devices. The copper ions:

  • interfere with the process of fertilisation in the uterus;
  • limit the sperm mobility;
  • prevent sperm from fertilising the egg;
  • prevent the egg from attaching (implanting) in the uterus.

The amount of copper released from the copper pearls is minimal – the average quantity of copper ingested with a normal diet is much higher than the quantity inserted into the body through the copper pearls.

How secure is the copper pearls IUB™?

The efficacy of the IUB™ copper pearls is comparable with oral contraceptives (the pill) when used correctly. However, no birth control method is 100% effective. For detailed information about the IUB™, visit the website.

When and where is the IUB™ inserted?

The hormone-free IUB™ is placed in your uterus during your individual consultation with your doctor, who will first examine you to find the position of your uterus. After measuring your uterus, the IUB™ will be carefully inserted with a tube containing the IUB™ copper pearls. If you have not been pregnant yet, it can happen that the cervix needs to be stretched a little bit before inserting the IUB™ copper pearls. The tube is removed and the IUB™ remains inside your uterus, where it finds its ideal position and becomes active immediately.  The correct position of the IUB™ can be checked with ultrasound examination. Two threads extend into your vagina.

The best time for the placement is during the last days of your menstruation when the cervix is open wide enough, and the possibility of a pregnancy is the lowest. A check-up should be done four to 12 weeks after the placement. After that, a yearly check-up is recommended.

Make an appointment to discuss long-term hormone-free, reversible pregnancy protection that suits your needs.

The original version of this article can be found on Dr Jireh Serfontein’s blog page.

Also read:

What is the right birth control for you?