An Oregon doctor is researching a non-surgical, permanent contraceptive method for women in developing countries, with some funding from the Gates Foundation. The work is being done with an eye toward curbing overpopulation, and to improve quality of life in impoverished countries, they said.
Jeffrey Jensen, of the Oregon Health and Science University, was awarded a $5 million grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in October – and is reportedly seeking further funding to continue his work.
The Oregon Permanent Contraception Research Center is conducting research on primates using polidocanol foam, a treatment currently approved by the FDA for treating varicose veins, according to an announcement from the school.
“My goal is very simple: to make every pregnancy planned and highly desired,” Jensen reportedly told the Portland Business Journal last week.
Though the foam is currently the primary research for permanent contraception, the center is also seeking requests for proposals for other concepts that may work in places across the globe where there are not enough resources to do surgery easily, according to an OHSU release.
An estimated 222 million women around the world would like to delay or stop having children entirely – but have no access to contraception, for a variety of economic and social reasons, according to World Health Organization statistics. The organization also estimates about 100 million women will undergo sterilization over the next two decades.
Some religious and pro-life groups have opposed the work, through blogs such as LifeSiteNews. They have linked the research to “eugenics” movements of the past.
The Gates Foundation was started with reproductive health as a major goal. However, founder Bill Gates has said that contraception – and improved survival rates for the children who are born – would lead to improved quality of life in developing countries, as he told a TED Talks conference in 2010. Through programs such as the organization’s ongoing malaria-elimination initiative, Gates and his Foundation have said that human population growth can be slowed.
“If we improve health rapidly we will get the peak population to be as much as a billion below the current expected peak. That is about 8.3 billion versus 9.3,” Gates said, at the TED conference.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery