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September 27, 1965

Intrauterine Contraceptive Device

Author Affiliations

Forest Hills, NY

New York

JAMA. 1965;193(13):1127. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090130055022

To the Editor:—  Does human life begin after fertilization of the ovum or after nidation of the blastocyst? With development of new contraceptive methods, these questions touch legal, moral, and philosophical issues. Although the mode of action of some new birth-control methods (in particular, the intrauterine contraceptive device, IUCD), has not been scientifically established, there is reason to consider when, as well as how, their antifertility effect is exercised.Does the IUCD exert its effect on the unfertilized or the fertilized ovum? If the latter, does the action take place immediately after fertilization, while the ovum is in transit, or after it has entered the endometrial cavity? Does it have an antifertility potential because it acts on the maturing blastocyst, and, if so, does this action take place before or after nidation?The question as to whether the IUCD may affect the zygote as well as the unfertilized ovum requires