Copper T intrauterine devices
The Copper T 380A intrauterine device (IUD) provides enhanced contraceptive protection for up to ten years. This IUD is one of the most effective, long-acting reversible contraceptives available.
The Copper T 380A is in the public sector worldwide. In the United States, it is called ParaGard® and is licensed to Duramed, a branded business subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. (offsite link).
Early versions of the IUD
The Population Council played a major role in the development, clinical testing, and statistical evaluation of modern forms of the intrauterine device (IUD), starting with the first international conference on intrauterine contraception convened in the early 1960s.
By 1964, the Council had provided 81 grants totaling nearly US$2 million to support research on the acceptability, effectiveness, safety, and mode of action of IUDS. One of these awards funded the research to develop an IUD called the Lippes Loop. This plastic contraceptive device was first marketed in 1962.
The Copper T 380A
The Copper T 380A, developed by the Population Council, is part of the family of Copper T 380 IUDs.
The 380A is a flexible polyethylene T-shaped body with a copper collar of approximately 66.5 mg of copper on each of its transverse arms and 176 mg of copper wire coiled around its vertical shaft.
A monofilament polyethylene thread is tied through the bulb at the tip of the T, resulting in two threads to aid in detection and removal of the device.
The Copper T IUD
In 1967, a scientist at the Council developed a plastic IUD in the shape of a "T." The next year, a former Population Council biomedical fellow reported the contraceptive action of intrauterine copper. The IUD that combined these two discoveries was the Copper T 200, the first of the Copper T family of IUDs.
The Council then refined the design to increase contraceptive duration and effectiveness. This research resulted in the Copper T 380, which has copper collars on the arms and copper wire coiled around the stem.
The Copper T 380 intrauterine device is one of the most effective, long-acting reversible contraceptives available. Use of the device results in less than one pregnancy per 100 women during the first year and during each subsequent year. Fertility is restored when the IUD is removed.
The Copper T 380 IUD is inserted high in the uterus by a physician, providing enhanced contraceptive protection for up to ten years.
The Copper T 380 has more copper surface—380 square millimeters—than any other marketed IUD and is the most advanced of the family of T-shaped copper devices developed by the Population Council.
The Copper T 380A IUD
Today there are multiple variations of the Copper T 380. The Population Council, in conjunction with an organization called FEI, developed the Copper T 380A, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for marketing in 1984.
In addition to developing the device, the Population Council also facilitated the introduction of the Copper T 380A IUD into existing family planning programs in developing countries, emphasizing the skills and information required to provide an advanced model of an established contraceptive method.
The Council has worked with other international organizations, governments, and country health officials to encourage guidelines for safe provision of copper IUDs. The objective is to serve women better by establishing standards for informed choice, service provision, and improved counseling.