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Artificial eggs made from seaweed could provide women with a popular alternative to the pill.

The ‘very impressive’ work is still at an early stage but it offers hope of a contraceptive that is free of the mood swings, weight gain and other side-effects that dog the hormone-based drugs used daily by millions of women, reports The Daily Mail.

The ZP2 peptide beads, as they are officially called, could also be used to choose the best sperm for use in IVF.

The beads are made from a sugary material that is extracted from seaweed and are so small that 8 million would fit on a little finger nail.

They are coated in a substance that is normally found on the outside of woman’s eggs and that sperm latch on to.

Inserted into the womb in their millions, they acts as decoys, trapping the sperm before they reach the eggs.

Researcher Jurrien Dean, of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, said: ‘Effective contraception is critical for family planning.

‘This strategy provides highly-effective, non-hormonal, long-term but reversible contraception in female mice.

‘We envisage that the sperm-decoy strategy could one day be translated to reproductive medicine to provide effective female contraception.’

Professor Allan Pacey, a Sheffield University fertility expert, said: ‘I am very impressed. This opens up a whole new avenue for researchers to develop a non-hormonal based contraception for women which would be very welcome and exciting.

‘I wish the scientists every success. It is the kind of study I wish I had thought of and had the technical nous to do.’

Lots of testing still lies ahead. But it sounds like a winner.

What is your preferred method of contraception? Would you be keen to give this a go?

Share your comments below.

Image via Shutterstock

  • The wonders of science are simply amazing.

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  • Sounds promising ! I sure would be keen to give this a go !

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  • Sounds exciting.

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  • Wow this is so weird! Great concept but still weird haha

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  • It’s amazing the kinds of medical advancements being made.

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  • It certainly sounds very hopeful.

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  • Sounds amazing! I wish this was around before I got my tubal which has made my life hell.


    • Depending how long since you had your tubal done, they may have only put clips on your tubes – not cut them. Be aware that the clip method is not 100% foolproof. They can come open. I know a lady who has a baby as a result of this happening. An Xray showed the open clip still sitting around the tube.

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  • I have used the pill, the implananon implant and mirena iud. They have all caused serious side affects. This is something I would definitely be interested in

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  • This sounds great! I hate contraceptives as i always have side effects from each type, this would be fantastic :)

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  • I use the pill and gave fir many many years. I do worry about possible side effects of such long term use. Last time I visited the Dr, she said I was nearly of age to strongly consider stopping the pill. I would much prefer these little seafood pills. Plant and forget and its reversible. Love it

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  • Sounds amazing though would have to be proven 100% before you would use it!

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  • Wow! who would have thought of this. research is amazing

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  • This is incredible. Science is so cool!

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  • It’s amazing what medical science is coming up with.

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  • Hmm…sounds promising. Doubt I will see it in my fertile times but its exciting that its being looked into as an alternative!

    Reply

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