This is, essentially, hormonal treatment. It is not some fantastic new answer for those struggling to find a pill/implant/injection to suit them. However those who get on with the pill but often forget to keep up with it might find this more interesting.
This microchip is only 20mm x 20mm x 7mm in size, and smaller than a postage stamp. However it stores a 16-year supply of the hormone levonorgestrel (the hormone used in the Morning After Pill and other contraceptives) to be released on a daily basis. It can be implanted under the skin of the upper arm, abdomen or badonkadonk (that's a medical term). A platinum seal is melted to release 30micrograms of the hormone.
The chip was developed by engineers from the company MicroCHIPS in Massachusetts in response to an official Bill Gates challenge (not a drunken bet with Bill Gates) for a long-lasting birth control method that can be turned on and off. Gates is now backing the chip and it will be submitted for pre-clinical testing in the US next year.
What is interesting about this form of contraception is that it can be stopped at any time by the user (so no 'just give it a bit more time' from your GP)
Dr Robert Farra from MIT said: "Communication with the implant has to occur at skin contact level distance...Someone across the room cannot re-programme your implant. Then we have secure encryption. That prevents someone from trying to interpret or intervene between the communications." OK GOOD.
This microchip technology may soon be a method of administering other drugs. In the meantime the developers plan price the MicroCHIPS 'competitively' and there is the possibility that the device could be implanted as an outpatient procedure, after which contraception is provided for around half of the user's reproductive life.