Image credits: Boris Zharkov

The Fertility Chip

A recent Washington Post report revealed that a popular pregnancy-tracking app allowed employers to monitor their employees’ fertility activity. Despite how invasive some of these technologies might be, the growing “FemTech” industry is estimated to have a market potential of 50 billion dollars by 2025.

In 2012, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave a grant of nearly $20 million USD to Microchips Biotech Inc. to develop a microchip that could be implanted in a woman’s body to control her fertility for up to 16 years. The contraceptive device, which is inserted under the skin, can be ‘activated’ and ‘deactivated’ by the user or by her doctor remotely. According to the company’s press release, the microchip would be especially helpful for women who don’t have easy access to health care, and therefore the technology has “great potential for developing countries.” Little information is available about the results of the clinical trials or plans for the chip’s release, but the company’s website states, “the program is still ongoing.”