Development of a biodegradable contraceptive implant

Despite the availability and use of a variety of contraceptive methods, unmet need for family planning remains high. Contraceptive implants — including two-rod implants (Jadelle and Sino-implant (II)) and one-rod implants (Implanon) — are a highly effective, safe and long-acting family planning method. However, implants must be removed when pregnancy is desired or at the end of their duration of effectiveness (three to five years depending on the product). The need for the removal procedure can be problematic in resource-constrained settings because women may not have access to trained personnel or may not be able to afford the procedure. To overcome this problem, FHI 360 is working to develop a biodegradable contraceptive implant that will help address these service delivery constraints and expand women’s contraceptive options.


A biodegradable contraceptive implant that would not require removal would fill a distinct gap in the current contraceptive method mix. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, FHI 360 is working with innovators in the field of novel drug delivery systems to develop a safe, effective, acceptable and affordable biodegradable contraceptive implant system that would allow a contraceptive steroid to be released at a constant rate and have a well-defined period of effectiveness with a short return to fertility. Proof-of-concept testing is under way in partnership with the following groups:

Orbis Biosciences — Microspheres manufactured using the Orbis Biosciences’ patented Precision Particle FabricationTM technology and releasing etonogestrel for 18 months

Yale University — Novel biodegradable and biocompatible polymer releasing levonorgestrel for 18 months

For more information, please email us.


  • Contraceptive Technology Innovation brochure
    2014 — Throughout our 40-year history, FHI 360 has helped increase access to family planning by developing, evaluating and introducing a range of new contraceptive methods. Research is under way to develop innovative mid- to long-acting...
Funder: USAID
Duration: 2010 - 2015