Imagine a woman choosing between two earrings: contraceptive or non-contraceptive. That option may one day exist if so-called "contraceptive jewelry" becomes available, Fox News reports. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology tested the notion by designing tiny skin patches—each containing up to a week of contraception—and fashioning them to jewelry like watches, choker necklaces, rings, and earrings. Placed on hairless rats and pig ears, they provided up to a week of contraception even when removed for eight-hour stretches (which is like removing jewelry overnight). The original goal was to offer women in developing countries another contraception option, per a press release, but it could address other issues.
For one thing, contraception jewelry can be used discretely—a possible boon for women in cultures where contraception is shunned. It might also be easier to remember than popping a daily pill, though not all agree: "The idea that it might be easier to remember to put on jewelry than take a pill is slightly sexist,” says Deborah Bateson, a gynecology professor in Australia. The jewelry might also transmit other pharmaceuticals if the required doses are small enough. But will women actually wear them? To answer that, "we need to understand ... the social and personal factors that come into play for women all around the world," says study co-author Mark Prausnitz. (See how one media outlet lists the best and worst birth-control methods.)