This article was originally published in Start Up
Given the huge impact that having a baby has on every aspect of a woman's life--and that of her mate--it's small wonder that a growing number of companies are aiming to offer Baby Boomers improved contraceptive choices. Some are developing devices to make the widely performed tubal ligation surgery, which renders women sterile, less invasive, more convenient and safer than it has been to date. At least one firm hopes to give men a chance to participate in family planning via reversible vasectomization.
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Tubal ligation is an effective means of permanent birth control, but the procedure itself is no picnic. Ovion Inc. hopes to overcome the body's tendency to overgrow implanted objects, with a fiber-coated stent delivered non-surgically into the fallopian tubes.
ReVas Inc. believes that vasectomy would be a more desirable form of permanent birth control if men knew that the procedure could be easily reversed. The company aims to develop such a method, inserting a nylon stent into the vas deferens to prevent sperm passage, with a portion left outside the vas for venting and to facilitate removal.
Adiana aims to improve the most popular method of female sterilization--tubal ligation--with a device that can be used in a doctor's office, to perform the procedure less invasively. A catheter guided through the vagina on up into the fallopian tubes will give a short dose of radiofrequency to ablate the cells lining the tube, and a small spongy matrix will be left behind. The energy-induced injury will prompt tissue ingrowth into the matrix, so that healthy tissue will permanently block the tubes.