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Is contragestion the future?
  1. Sharon Cameron1,2,
  2. Hang Wun Raymond Li3,4,
  3. Kristina Gemzell-Danielsson5
  1. 1 Chalmers Sexual Health Centre, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2 Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
  4. 4 The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
  5. 5 Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Professor Sharon Cameron, Chalmers Sexual Health Centre, Edinburgh EH3 9ES, UK; sharon.cameron{at}

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In the 1980s, the term ‘contragestion’ was coined by French scientists investigating progesterone receptor modulators (PRMs). Contragestion refers to a method that works after ovulation and throughout luteal phase and beyond.1 A contragestive could prevent or disrupt implantation, which may be politically controversial. On the other hand, a strategy to avoid abortion has been the concept of ‘menstrual regulation’ which is widely practised in some parts of the world. Thus, the mechanism of action may be less important than how we name the method to get through political and regulatory constraints and psychosocial barriers.

In the 21st century, the status quo of existing contraceptive choice is not sufficient. Despite a range of contraceptive methods, hormonal and non-hormonal, and various delivery systems and durations of action, we still have high rates of unintended pregnancy. No method of contraception is 100% effective. Also, not all women will want to use a method that constantly releases hormones or have a device present in the body even if it is highly effective and reversible. Uptake of existing methods of contraception is also limited due to experienced or feared side effects. Some women may want an occasional-use method only. While emergency contraception (EC) pills can be used as an occasional method or pericoital method, they are only of limited …

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  • Contributors SC wrote the first draft of this editorial. HWRL and KG-D contributed to subsequent drafts. All the authors approved the final draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests SC is editor in chief of BMJ SRH and HWRL is an associate editor of BMJ SRH .

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.