Why Is Copper Used in IUD’s?

Why Is Copper Used in IUD’s?

Why Is Copper Used in IUD’s?

“Birth control comes in all shapes and sizes, from the incredibly high-tech to the ridiculously simple. So if you're worried about the long-term effects of taking hormones, or tired of taking a daily birth-control pill, there's always another method of birth control that's simple, cheap and effective: Intra-Uterine devices. The only downside? It requires a doctor to implant it for you.


But how exactly can copper itself, the main “ingredient” in non-hormonal intra-uterine devices prevent a pregnancy?”


How Does Copper Prevent Pregnancy?

Copper ions destroy biochemical structures with ease — they confound enzyme structures, making them useless. The ions can also bore holes into cell membranes, by interacting with the cells lipid bilayer, spilling the contents of the cell into the surrounding environment.


Once your Intra-Uterine Device is in place, copper ions separate from the coiled copper wire and begin to alter the biochemistry around the uterus. "Alter" sounds like a strong and permanent word, but it really isn't. The copper ions leach into uterine fluids and the cervical mucus — when these fluids come in contact with sperm, the copper ions sound the death knell for the squiggly beasts.


Copper ions prevent pregnancy by inhibiting the movement of sperm, because the copper-ion-containing fluids are directly toxic to sperm. Even if an aggressive little spermatozoa fertilizes an egg, the copper ion laden environment prevents implantation of the fertilized egg, and thus pregnancy.”


How Does Copper Work as an Emergency Contraceptive?

Copper-based Intra-Uterine devices can be used as a form of emergency contraception if implanted up to a maximum of five days after ovulation.


The emergency contraceptive application is due to the timetable necessary to implant a fertilized egg, which can happen anywhere from six to twelve days after ovulation. This is more than enough time for the copper ions released to prevent implantation.


Copper IUDs do not prevent against sexually transmitted diseases, however, and they open the user up to a variety of pelvic infections if an STD/STI arises. These infections are very serious and require immediate treatment — with infertility one possible effect, if the pelvic inflammation goes untreated.”


Keen for more info on the newest Intra-Uterine device, the Copper Pearls IUB? Click here for more info now!



h/t to gizmodo.com for the great info!

Cover Image Credit: Daysy