The Population Council’s Center for Biomedical Research is developing several self-administered contraceptives, including pills, microneedle patches, vaginal rings, fast-dissolving vaginal inserts, and male contraceptive gels. These contraceptives are social products that increase individuals’ agency and autonomy. They give individuals control over their reproduction and, just as important, how they interact with the health system.
In a commentary published in the journal Contraception, Council researchers call on family planning advocates, donors, researchers, health educators, policymakers, and providers to invest in and commit to de-medicalizing contraception and enhancing the contraceptive method mix to ensure access and options for all individuals.
This requires consistent and more investment for: developing new products and refining existing methods, optimizing manufacturing to reduce costs, addressing uptake and supporting proper use, and increasing access outside of healthcare settings. Well-designed implementation science research to evaluate and expand successful programs is also critical.