Author Interviews, Fertility, Nature / 14.02.2023 Interview with: Melanie Balbach PhD Postdoctoral Associate in Pharmacology Weill Cornell Medicine What is the background for this study? Response: For men, the only two options for birth control currently available are condoms and vasectomy. Additional contraceptive methods are required to more equally distribute the burden of contraception between men and women. We aim to develop an on-demand contraceptive pill for men where sperm motility and thereby fertility is only blocked for multiple hours. The idea is that men take our contraceptive shortly before intercourse and regain fertility about 24 hours later. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, NEJM, OBGYNE / 28.01.2021 Interview with: DAVID K. TUROK, MD, MPH, FACOG ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF FAMILY PLANNING UNIVERSITY OF UTAH What is the background for this study? Response: Researchers and clinicians have long known that copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) work extremely well for emergency contraception, using contraception after sex to prevent pregnancy. However, the hormonal IUD (levonorgestrel 52 mg IUD) has distinct characteristics that many people prefer. Namely, it reliably reduces or eliminates menstrual bleeding and cramping. Until now we did not know if the levonorgestrel IUD worked for emergency contraception. Now we know. In a first-of-its-kind study, our team at the University of Utah Health and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah found that hormonal IUDs were comparable to copper IUDs for use as emergency contraceptives. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Fertility, OBGYNE / 19.11.2020 Interview with: Jennifer Yland Doctoral Student in Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? Response: Worldwide, about 22% of reproductive-aged women used hormonal contraception last year. Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods, which include intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, patches, and injectable contraceptives, have become increasingly popular. However, little is known about the return to fertility after use of different contraceptives, particularly LARC methods. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Columbia, OBGYNE / 11.03.2020 Interview with: Matthew ESpotnitzMDMPH Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Obstetrics and Gynecology Columbia University Medical Center Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics, and Medical Informatics Services New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York What is the background for this study? Response: Our take home message is that copper and hormonal IUDs may have different physiological effects on the female genitourinary system. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 06.04.2019 Interview with: Sarah Baum, MPH investigator at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project Associate at Ibis Reproductive Health What is the background for this study?   Response: Before 2013, use of medication abortion in Texas mirrored national trends, which have steadily increased since the approval of mifepristone--one of the two medications used for medication abortion--in 2000. However, House Bill 2 (HB 2), which was implemented on November 1, 2013, imposed restrictions on medication abortion and required providers to follow the outdated mifepristone label. HB 2 reduced the gestational age limit to 49 days and generally required four visits. On March 29, 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a revised label for Mifeprex® (mifepristone 200 mg) that reflected evidence-based practice, which essentially nullified the medication abortion restrictions in HB 2. The label change brought medication abortion prescribing guidelines in line with evidence-based practice, reducing the number of required in-person visits from four to two and extending the period when patients can take the pill from seven weeks of pregnancy to 10 weeks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Sexual Health / 22.04.2018 Interview with: Michael O'Rand, PhD Retired professor of cell biology and physiology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and president/CEO of Eppin Pharma, Inc What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: My lab at the UNC School of Medicine discovered the protein Eppin in 2004. It coats the sperm cell. Through our subsequent research, we learned it is essential for sperm protection in the female. We thought it could make an excellent target for a male contraceptive. Subsequently we developed a compound called EP055 that would bind to Eppin and as a result stop sperm from swimming. In our latest study published in PLOS One, we show that EP055 substantially limits sperm motility in non-human primates. And we showed the effect of EP055 is temporary, which would make it a good contraceptive. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, Social Issues / 08.02.2018 Interview with: “Birth control pills” by lookcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marie Harvey, DrPH MPH Lisa P. Oakley, PhD MPH College of Public Health and Human Sciences Oregon State University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Because decisions about contraceptives are often made by young adults in the context of their relationships and specific partners, the characteristics of that relationship and feelings about that partner will likely influence how those decisions are made. Many studies have previously investigated individual factors that affect contraceptive choice and when examining partner influences have used questions that were not specific to a particular partner. Intuition, however, suggests that feelings for a specific partner would likely influence one’s perception of risk for disease acquisition, and thereby, their contraceptive choice. So, it was important to us to look at the influences of each specific partner and how the unique dynamics of each partnership influence contraceptive use. In this study, we investigated how relationship qualities and dynamics (such as commitment and sexual decision-making) impact contraceptive choice above and beyond individual factors. We also used partner-specific questions. We found that both individual and partner-specific relationship qualities and dynamics predicted contraceptive use, but these factors varied by contraceptive method. For example, young adults who reported greater exclusivity with a specific partner and more relationship commitment were less likely to use only condoms with that partner. Additionally, individuals who felt they played a strong role in making sexual decisions in their relationship were also more likely to only use condoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Hormone Therapy, JCEM / 29.10.2016 Interview with: Mario Philip Reyes Festin, MD World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland. What is the background for this study? Response: Researchers are trying to identify a hormonal male contraceptive that is effective, reversible, safe, acceptable, affordable, and available. Most of the research has been done either by groups of university researchers. However, in the 1990s, WHO undertook two multi-center, multinational studies. The studies were unable to provide evidence to support the development of a commercially viable, and user-acceptable product. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Zika / 04.08.2016 Interview with: Charlan D. Kroelinger, PhD Division of Reproductive Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Increased access to birth control may lead to reductions in unintended pregnancies, which may result in fewer adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes in the context of a Zika virus outbreak. A new report from CDC estimates that use of highly effective, reversible forms of birth control, called long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), which includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, remains lower than use of moderate or less effective methods such as oral contraceptive pills and condoms, although contraception use varied across states and by age group and race/ethnicity. CDC scientists used data from four state-based surveillance systems to estimate contraception use for non-pregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually active female high school students who live in states with the potential for local Zika virus transmission. Less than one in four sexually active women of reproductive age and fewer than one in 10 sexually active female high school students reported using LARC. A higher percentage of postpartum women reported LARC use. Moderately effective and less effective contraceptive methods, including pills, patches, rings, injections, condoms and other barrier methods, were used more frequently than highly effective methods. These estimates are of concern because the most commonly used methods of contraception are not as effective at preventing unintended pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Endocrinology, OBGYNE, Yale / 12.06.2015

Aileen Gariepy, MD, MPH Assistant Professor Section of Family Planning Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT Interview with: Aileen Gariepy, MD, MPH Assistant Professor Section of Family Planning Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gariepy: Women who have just given birth are often highly motivated to prevent a rapid, repeat pregnancy.  For women who desire the contraceptive implant, a highly effective reversible form of contraception that is placed in the arm and can last for 3 years, new research shows that it is more cost-effective to place the implant while women are still in the hospital after giving birth, compared to delaying insertion to the postpartum visit 6-8 weeks later which is currently the most common practice. When the costs associated with the implant insertion and the costs of unintended pregnancy are compared in women who receive immediate contraceptive implant insertion (while still in the hospital after giving birth) to women who are asked to come back in 6-8 weeks for the implant insertion (delayed insertion), immediate insertion is expected to save $1,263 per patient.  Based on these estimates, for every 1,000 women using postpartum implant, immediate placement is expected to avert 191 unintended pregnancies and save $1,263,000 compared with delayed insertion in the first year. Cost savings would continue to increase for the second and third year after insertion. In fact, over half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended.  Maternal and infant care costs for unintended pregnancies amount to $11.1 billion annually for public insurance programs alone. The immediate postpartum period (after delivery but before discharge home) provides an ideal opportunity for initiating contraceptives as patients are motivated and timing is convenient. However, the majority of insurance company policies do not provide coverage for insertion of the contraceptive implant when the new mother is still in the hospital.  This lack of reimbursement is the most significant barrier to providing this highly effective contraceptive method for women who have just delivered a baby.  Surprisingly, the reason most insurance companies do not offer reimbursement for immediate insertion is due to an outdated insurance protocol, “the global obstetric fee” which precludes separate reimbursement of individual procedures (like inserting the implant). The main reason that immediate insertion results in cost savings is because more women will get the implant compared to a strategy of delayed insertion.  Women can get pregnant again within 4 weeks of delivering a baby.  Starting contraception as soon as possible after giving birth is important because most women will resume sexual activity before their postpartum office visit and therefore will be at risk of pregnancy. And approximately 35% of women do not return for a postpartum visit. Even for women who want another pregnancy soon, the implant has benefits.  When women conceive and deliver a baby within 2 years of last giving birth, there is a significantly higher risk of poor maternal and neonatal outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and even early neonatal and maternal death.  Birth spacing is better for moms and babies. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Sexual Health / 03.03.2015 Interview with: Amy Branum M.S.P.H., Ph.D and Jo Jones Ph.D Center for Health Statistics Division of Vital Statistics, Reproductive Statistics Branch Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: This data brief was based on multiple years of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).  The NSFG, first conducted in 1973, is administered by NCHS in response to a legal mandate that says that NCHS “shall collect statistics on …family formation, growth, and dissolution.” (PHS Act, Sec 306). Up through the 2002 NSFG, the survey was conducted periodically; with the 2006-2010 data collection, the NSFG is a continuous survey with interviews conducted over multiple years.  We felt it was important to examine long-term trends in  Long-acting Reversible Contraception use due to fluctuations over time in IUD and implant acceptability and availability as contraception methods, especially in light of recent efforts to promote LARC use to prevent unintended pregnancies and for birth spacing. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We found that Long-acting Reversible Contraception use declined between 1982 and 1988, remained stable through 2002 and then increased almost five-fold between 2002 and 2011-2013 (from 1.5% to 7.2).  Long-acting Reversible Contraception use has, and continues to be, generally highest among women aged 25-34 but has increased the most among women 15-24 since 2002.  Hispanic women used Long-acting Reversible Contraception at higher rates in 1982 compared to non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women but patterns of use diverged after 1995 so that by 2011-2013, patterns of use were more similar by race and Hispanic origin.  Women who have at least one previous live birth have used, and continue to use, LARCs at a higher rate compared to women with no previous births. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, OBGYNE, UC Davis / 05.02.2015 Interview with: Dr. Eleanor B. Schwarz, M.D., M.S University of California, Davis Sacramento, CA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schwarz: The background for this study is that… Women treated with Isotretinoin receive a lot of scary information about this medication’s risk of causing birth defects, but few receive clear information on the most effective ways to protect themselves from undesired pregnancy and the risks of medication-induced birth defects. Our main finding is that women who spent less than a minute reviewing a simple information sheet were significantly more likely to be aware that some contraceptives are considerably more effective than others. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Schwarz: Clinicians who prescribe medications that can cause birth defects should make sure their patients are aware of the fact that women using a birth control pill are typically twenty times more likely to experience a contraceptive failure than those using a subdermal contraceptive implant (e.g. Nexplanon) or intrauterine contraceptive (e.g. Mirena, ParaGard). (more…)
Author Interviews, Dartmouth, OBGYNE / 11.06.2014

Rachel Thompson PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science Dartmouth Interview with Rachel Thompson PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science Dartmouth College MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Thompson: This study, which surveyed 417 women aged 15-45 years and 188 contraceptive care providers in 2013, found important differences in what matters most to these two groups when it comes to discussing and deciding on a contraceptive method. Women’s most important question when choosing a contraceptive was “Is it safe?” – this was in the top three questions for 42% of women but only 21% of providers. Alternatively, providers’ most important question was “How is it used?”. Information on side effects and how a method actually works to prevent pregnancy was also a higher priority for women than for providers. (more…)