According to MicroCHIPS, the device promotes safe, long-term and effective birth control. The implication of the technology goes beyond contraceptives. In case a couple wishes to conceive, the woman can turn off the chip using a remote control. She can also turn it on again when she needs to.
The chip is designed to last for up to 16 years – almost half of a woman’s reproductive lifespan. Each day, it releases a dose of 30 milligrams of levonorgestrel used in many emergency and hormonal contraceptives.
Inside the chip, a reservoir array protects and contains the hormone. Inside these reservoirs, any drug can be deposited and set for release based on a pre-programmed schedule or on demand.
According to MicroCHIPS, the arrays are designed to be compatible to the wireless telemetry, sensor feedback loops, or pre-programmed microprocessors to offer active control. Individual device reservoirs can be opened on a predetermined schedule or on demand using control sensor activation.
The chip discharges the contents of the reservoir when an instant electric current from a small internal battery is passed via the hermetic platinum and titanium seal, which melts it and releases the dose in the body.
The chips have undergone human clinical trial delivering osteoporosis medication over a one-month schedule to post-menopausal women. This demonstrates that the new technology functions. The device was implanted with a local anaesthetic and the process took 30 minutes. It causes no adverse immune reaction.
MicroCHIPS stated that there are still additional logistics they need to work on such as encrypting the chips to maintain wireless data secure though the concept has been proven to function as desired.
Currently, as part of the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation Family Planning program, MicroCHIPS, which is led by Robert Langer, is adapting the chip for contraceptives and hopes to have FDA approval by 2015. MicroCHIPS hope to retail the product by 2018.