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Cheaper Safer IUD

A long thin copper wire
  [vote for,

The active ingredient of many IUDs is copper, and some women's bodies cannot handle that. This Idea is not for those women, therefore.

Existing IUDs generally have a T-shape, which means a doctor is required to do the insertion (it doesn't go in easily). Also, the difficulty of installation can be a cause of significant discomfort, including inflammation. This Idea hopes to avoid that. Possibly even the doctor can be avoided! And certainly the expense, that medical companies charge for the things, can be avoided. One thing that an IUD does offer is fairly easy removal; an attached string can simply be pulled to make it come out.

So, start with a long thin solid copper wire, say half-a-meter and #20 gauge. Such wire is widely available and quite inexpensive. Get some sandpaper and first smooth the ends of the wire, to take off any roughness from having been cut.

Next, take some needle-nose pliers and bend each end of the wire into a very tight loop. The purpose is to ensure that only smooth roundness, and not the pointy end of the wire, can contact the uterus. Also, before making the second loop, get some fishing line and tie it to the second end. This will be the removal string. Use the pliers to make sure the second loop clamps the tied string.

The IUD is now ready; it only needs to be thoroughly cleaned before insertion. Use soap-and water, followed by alcohol, followed by boiling water. Various body parts need to be well-cleaned, also, such as the hands.

The first small rounded end of the wire should fairly easily enter the uterus, although there may be some difficulty locating the cervix (I once saw a medical text showing a very surprising range of variations from the norm, the usual diagram). The rest of the wire should follow easily, also.

Since the womb is not as long as the wire, when the wire reaches the end of the available space it will start to crumple up. This should also happen fairly easily, since the wire is thin. When the last of the wire has been inserted, the fact that it is crumpled-up, inside the womb, is what keeps it from falling out by itself. No uncomfortable T-shape needed!

An IUD may be installed for years at a time. And removal is as easy as pulling the string.

Vernon, Oct 18 2006

The IUD, How I love Thee? (Part II) http://durteemartin...he_iud_how_i_l.html
One user's experience getting one. "Hey lady, alert alert there is a foreign object on the premises. alert. did you fucking HEAR me i said alert goddammit get this thing out of here noooooow." [jutta, Oct 19 2006]

One unsuccessful DIY attempt http://www.cbctrust...hoice/chapter4.html
"I searched the stores, found a small ballpoint pen with a tapered, unscrewable forward section, and invented my own iud. In spite of boiling my pen tip and sterilizing my hands and vagina with Dettol, I ended up in the hospital with septicaemia, a fever of 105 Fahrenheit, and an intact fetus." [jutta, Oct 19 2006]

Some IUD info http://www.fwhc.org...control/iudinfo.htm
[po], see the "Removal" section. It doesn't actually say "pull the string", but the description implies ("at any time") it could be that simple. [Vernon, Oct 23 2006]

you can't beat the old "wear a leather pouch containing a cat's liver on the left foot method " http://www.medhunte...eContraception.html
[po, Oct 24 2006]

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       Wrong on so many levels. Isn't this about the way back-street abortions were performed before Roe VS Wade in the US?   

       Bad Science: Copper is not the active ingredient in an IUD. most IUDs are made of a corrosion resistant metal, such as gold, or stainless steel, and their effective ingredient is unknown, but is believed to be the space they take up inside the uterus.   

       Bad directions: sandpaper is not likely to easily remove sharp edges, and randomly stuffing wire into one's own orifice is not likely to produce the desired effects. Indeed, it is entirely possible that the stuffing process will lead to exposing the pointy end.   

       Rumor has it that the arabs once inserted smooth stones into the uterus of female horses to keep them sterile during long journeys. Perhaps we should advocate that...   

       OH! that reminds me... since the IUD, copper wire, pliers, and hand soap already exist... M-F-D: advocacy.
ye_river_xiv, Oct 19 2006

       On the plus side, once your Voodoo DIY IUD fails and you get pregnant, you can use the rest of your copper wire to perform your own abortion. And once that fails and you die from the resulting complications, your ashes can be placed in this very decorative woven copper-wire urn.
jutta, Oct 19 2006

       [Vernon] - google around and you will find several IUDs essentially exactly as you describe. The Copper-7 was once very popular, and looked like a number 7. The part about bent into a round end is a feature on other available IUDs as well.   

       The only part about your idea which seems novel is that the IUD is supposed to deform.
bungston, Oct 19 2006

       [Vernon]... I think I agree with [jutta]. Wholeheartedly. You might be advised to stick to the knitting, 'cos this seems lethally uninformed to me. Leave medical procedures to the medics; to mess with your insides on a DIY - untrained - basis is to invite disaster. [-]
david_scothern, Oct 19 2006

       Those wires that were used for back-alley abortions had sharp or at least puncturing ends. This Idea specifically makes an effort to avoid that, so as to cause no physical damage.
Vernon, Oct 19 2006

       This is a truly, truly awful idea. And $3/4/500 for a birth control method lasting up to ten years is pretty cheap.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 19 2006

       It is not at all an awful idea. It is almost exactly how IUDs work, except that [Vernon]'s is deformable. IUDs are effective, very cheap, do not require maintenance, do not require compliance, and do not involve systemic drugs.   

       IUDs are much underused, probably because of legal action against the makers of the Copper-7 back in the early 1980s. The other problem is that the people who promote contraception have been more interested in STDs lately, and IUDs do not help with that.
bungston, Oct 19 2006

       I had one girlfriend who had one of these things. Despite the doctor's protests that it was not possible, the damn thing used to bite me periodically.
normzone, Oct 19 2006

       Why wasn't it possible, did she have no teeth?   

       [V] I think this would have been more successful as a description of a novel medical device - the deformable bit. I think you're taking the DIY home improvement thing a bit far.
Worldgineer, Oct 19 2006

       You're cracking me up, [World]. I theorize that at different parts in her cycle she was slightly differently arranged, and we overlapped in some tolerance zone.
normzone, Oct 19 2006

       Bungston, I have no objection to the concept of the IUD, which in itself may well be cheap and safe. I can see that this one is cheaper, but it's not safer by any means. There's an image I just can't get out of my mind:   

       "Wayell, we didn't hayve no ord'nery copper wire, so ah used alternayter wire; scraped mosta the enamel off. She were a bit ill for a couple weeks, but now it's been five years an' two weeks; still no kids...   

       ...the doctor took it out five years ago..."
david_scothern, Oct 20 2006

       It seems to me that several folks missed seeing this sentence in the main text, "POSSIBLY, even the doctor can be avoided!" That was not a recommendation; just a possibility. Note that later on, when cleaning-of-hands is mentioned, it doesn't say whose hands.   

       So, the "safer" part of this Idea has more to do with the shape of the IUD than how it gets emplaced. It may even be more comfortable, since it's less bulky.
Vernon, Oct 20 2006

       I could be wrong and I really, really don't wish to dwell on this subject for my own goddamn reasons, but I was always under the impression that the string thing was for the woman to check that it was still in place not to yank the thing out willy nilly. (yeah I know - willy nilly.)
po, Oct 20 2006

       Anybody else think the smooth round stone would be the way to go?   

       Perhaps a nice sphere made of segments of gold and titanium. Downside: creating a whole generation of wags with another cause to talk up.
reensure, Oct 20 2006

       Hey, it works for camels.
jutta, Oct 21 2006

       Maybe a gob of silicone could be used instead of the stone. That would make for a rather flexible IUD. Possibly, the flexibility of the silicone would allow for in-home insertion of the device. Getting a gob of silicone that could take on a shape close to the needed size might be hard.   

       Since silicone would have no sharp ends, this MIGHT be safer, but it might not be cheaper.
ye_river_xiv, Oct 22 2006

       you can win my croissant if you say that it can double up as a booster TV aerial in an area of poor reception.
xenzag, Oct 22 2006

       [Vernon], in that case, if the DIY bit is not relevant, I recommend you remove it, along with the sandpaper, the needle-nosed pliers and the fishing line. The fact that over half of this pertains to making it at home is perhaps strangely misleading if you're actually intending to leave this to the professionals. You were, after all, suggesting an IUD for which /the expense, that medical companies charge for the things, can be avoided/.
david_scothern, Oct 23 2006

       [david scothern], no, I think a woman could still make it herself, and then take it to a doctor for sterilization/insertion, if she didn't trust herself in that matter. Hmmm...let's imagine a female gynacologist who was tired of her patients being ripped off by the medical-product companies. Ethically, if it passed Research-type scrutiny, she would want to try this on herself (true DIY, that is) before presenting it to her patients.
Vernon, Oct 23 2006

       [Vernon], stand back and look at this idea for a minute.   

       You're proposing that some backyard bodge, made on someone's workbench using spare wire, be inserted into the most delicate parts of your nearest and dearest.   

       You then seem to imagine that, should one have any hesitatation in doing this, a trained doctor would happily do it. A gynaecologist, no less - someone who actually understands what they are talking about. Someone who recognises what the potential risks are, and why the cost of something designed and validated, manufactured in carefully controlled and clean conditions, and supplied in a sterile state is more than the cost of a roll of wire from the hardware store.   

       Vernon - litigation. You're not going to find anybody who will implant an IUD that you've made, because it is universally held to be a dangerous area to go poking potential sources of infection in.   

       I know, as Dogbert says, people are either agreeing with you or saying stupid stuff, but admit it, you had to suspend sense to post this, and you knew this was the sort of reaction you'd receive?   

       (if you're wondering whether I have any sort of idea what I'm talking about, I have very, very specific reasons for being forthright: My mum is a gynaecologist. Had she taken the route you suggest, I wouldn't now exist. Happily, she's sensible enough not to have tried it.)
david_scothern, Oct 24 2006

       //An IUD can be removed at any time and the procedure is quicker and easier than insertion. If it is removed near ovulation, a woman may become pregnant from recent intercourse before IUD removal. //   

       I think they mean by a Doctor!
po, Oct 24 2006

       [david scothern], the key factors of cleanliness and sterilization of any IUD will be relevant no matter who makes it. Why do you assume that involving some big company is the Only Way this can be done reliably? A simple copper wire can be autoclaved indefinitely! And any doctor has sterile pads readily available for handling stuff.
Vernon, Oct 24 2006

       I don't think the unit cost of the device itself is significant at all. This invention seeks to make that insignificant cost slightly less, although, as the inventor has said, a doctor (the significant part) is still required.
Texticle, Oct 24 2006

       Texticle, that's not what Vernon says. He writes "Possibly even the doctor can be avoided!"   

       And that's the part that sets me off. If this simply were a suggestion for a deforming IUD, that would be fine; it's the suggestion that people could do self-insertion of an experimental IUD at home - complete with step-by-step instructions and a title that bills it as "Safer" - that turns this from ignorance into a suggestion that can seriously injure those who follow it.
jutta, Oct 24 2006

       Amen to that. It's not the concept of the device that I have a problem with. It's the total incomprehension of the issues surrounding this.   

       No, you don't need a big company. You do, however, need one sufficiently specialist to produce a safe product. Someone's gotta pay for the safety in the product, and also, practically, for the insurance in case this all goes wrong. New and better designs are good, but it would be irresponsible not to do it safely. "It's been in an autoclave for a bit" is no substitute.   

       How, for instance, do you know that there's not a layer of grease on the surface of the wire that is going to act as an irritant? Can you be sure that there are not other, non-biological contaminants? And finally, who checked that pushing wire in could not knot up under any circumstances?   

       Before you take risks with people's health, you've got to have done the research, performed the tests, and you've got to be able to demonstrate that you've done this. That's not an excuse for fat profits, but it is a reason why the home workshop cannot be extended to become the home medical supplier.   

       [edit, following research] Removal is carried out by a doctor using forceps to draw out the string. However, there are occasions when the IUD becomes embedded in the uterine wall and has to be removed surgically. This would seem to suggest that the procedure should be carried out carefully, by someone aware of the potential complications and who knows what they are doing.
david_scothern, Oct 24 2006

       I said   

       /as the inventor has said, a doctor (the significant part) is still required/   

       because [Vernon] said:   

       /"POSSIBLY, even the doctor can be avoided!" That was not a recommendation; just a possibility/   

       /and then take it to a doctor for sterilization/insertion/   


       /any doctor has sterile pads readily available/
Texticle, Oct 24 2006

       Texticle, you quote Vernon: /and then take it to a doctor for sterilization/insertion/   

       Let's look at that quote in context: "no, I think a woman could still make it herself, and then take it to a doctor for sterilization/insertion, if she didn't trust herself in that matter."   

       So, the doctor is optional.   

       Your quotes confirm that Vernon doesn't deny the existence of doctors; they don't disprove that he treats them as optional. "Requiring" something means that you don't do without it, not that you use it if you "don't trust yourself in that matter". This isn't a matter of self-confidence; it's a matter of medical training and training in a specific procedure and its possible complications.
jutta, Oct 24 2006

Texticle, Oct 25 2006

       "Voodoo DIY IUD " I >LOVE< that, Jutta, and it should be included in a song because it's right up there with "A wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom" and "Doo be doo be dooooo, doo da da daa daa".   

       Also, it encapsulates totally the brainbending crassness of the idea.
Murdoch, Oct 26 2006


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