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Birth control pills history

Birth control pills history is very interesting. Gregory Pincus was an American physician, biologist, and researcher during the 20th century. Early in his career he began studying hormonal biology and steroidal hormones, but his first breakthrough came in 1934 when was able to produce in vitro fertilization in rabbits. In 1953, Margaret Sanger and Katherine McCormick confronted Pincus with the idea of creating an oral contraceptive. He sought out Searle, a pharmaceutical company, about funding for their plan. Searle’s initial reaction was ‘no’ because it jeopardized his company due to the austere birth control laws.

Despite the fact that Searle had no intention of creating an oral contraceptive, Frank Colton, a chemist at the company, accidentally developed a type of one. Enovid, the brand name of the first pill, was put on the market in 1957 as a menstrual regulator.

Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee

Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee

Pincus was allowed to have samples of the drug for his research and in 1957 The Pill was released as a treatment for gynecological disorders. Finally, in 1960, it became FDA approved and by 1963, 1.2 million women were using it. Rock was 70 years old when the birth control pill was approved. The birth control pill was introduced to the public in the early 1960s. Although Searle was originally reluctant to fund research for an oral contraceptive, he soon reaped the rewards of the newly invented Pill, and monopolized the industry for a short time.

Birth control pills history – Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee (1879 – 1966)
Margaret Sanger was an American birth control activist and the founder of the American Birth Control League. She was a lifelong advocate of women’s rights and the use of birth control.

During the 1930s, it was discovered that hormones prevented ovulation in rabbits. In 1950, while in her 80s, Sanger underwrote the research necessary to create the first human birth control pill.

Katharine Dexter McCormick

Katharine Dexter McCormick

Sanger raised $150,000 for the project.

Birth control pills history – Katharine Dexter McCormick (1875 – 1967)
Katherine McCormick was a U.S. biologist, suffragist, philanthropist and, after her husband’s death, heir to a substantial part of the McCormick fortune.

She is well remembered today for funding most of the research necessary to develop the first birth control pill.

Birth control pills history – Dr Gregory Pincus (1903 – 1967)
Born in 1903 to Russian Jewish immigrants in Woodbine, New Jersey, Pincus won a scholarship to Cornell University, where he excelled in biology.

Dr Gregory Pincus

Dr Gregory Pincus

He went on to land an appointment at Harvard as an assistant professor, and soon became known for his creative and innovative research in mammalian sexual physiology. Pincus was a rising star.

It was not an easy ride for Pincus. He had financial problems and found it difficult to gain support for his work from drug companies and universities. It was also illegal to provide contraception in Massachusetts at this time. Things changed when he met Margaret Sanger, a Catholic woman who was dedicated to birth control and her friend, the feminist graduate Katharine McCormick. McCormick provided ongoing financial support for the project.

Birth control pills history – Dr. John Rock (1890-1984)
When Gregory Pincus asked John Rock to collaborate with him on clinical trials for an oral contraceptive, Rock seemed an unlikely choice.

Dr. John Rock and birth control pills

Dr. John Rock and birth control pills

The highly-regarded obstetrician and gynecologist, he was a devout Roman Catholic and a ground-breaking infertility specialist, who devoted much of his career to helping women with fertility problems to conceive.

At a time in his life when he could have been settling into comfortable retirement, Rock agreed to work with Pincus on the controversial project to create a “magic pill” contraceptive. As part of the infertility research at his clinic, Rock was able to conduct the first human trials for the Pill in Boston and sidestep Massachusetts’ rigid anti-birth control law.

Birth control pills history – Frank Benjamin Colton (1923–2003)
Frank Colton was the inventor of Enovid, the first oral contraceptive. Frank B. Colton developed Enovid, the first oral contraceptive. Colton has made many important contributions to medicinal organic chemistry and particularly to steroid chemistry.

Frank Benjamin Colton

Frank Benjamin Colton

Of even greater importance was his research which resulted in the discovery of Enovid. The introduction of this substance in 1960 for family planning purposes ushered in the era of oral contraception.

Birth control pills history – Carl Djerassi (born 1923 in Vienna, Austria)
Carl Djerassi was the inventor of modern oral contraceptives or the pill. Carl Djerassi (born October 29, 1923 in Vienna, Austria), is an American chemist, novelist, and playwright best known for his contribution to the development of the first oral contraceptive pill (OCP). Djerassi is emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University.

Djerassi remarked that he did not have birth control in mind when he began working with progesterone—”not in our wildest dreams… did we imagine (it)”.

Launched in 1960 in the US, the Pill was thought to be a “miracle” advance, which separated sex and procreation.

Birth control pills history - Carl Djerassi

Birth control pills history – Carl Djerassi

The contraceptive pill was launched in the US in 1960 and approved in the UK in 1961. The pill was originally available for married women only (between 1961 and 1967) who had gynecological problems, which led to unmarried women borrowing wedding rings in order to get a prescription. It became the popular contraceptive choice for women during the “swinging 60s” and gained 1.2 million users within the first two years of its launch. 2008 health statistics showed 4 million users in the UK and 60 million worldwide.

Enovid (USA) or Enavid (UK) was the first combined oral contraceptive pill. Developed by G. D. Searle & Company, it was first made available in the U.S. in 1957. Initially Enovid was marketed only for the treatment of menstrual disorders. In 1960, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an application to market it as a contraceptive. Just a few months later, in 1961, it was approved as a contraceptive in the UK.

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