Scientists have developed a contraceptive pill they say women will only need to take once a month.
An American research team funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has tested the tablet on pigs, and hopes human trials can begin within a few years, according to a report by the researchers published in Science Translational Medicine.
The pill is designed to resist immediate erosion by stomach acid and would instead sit in the stomach for weeks, slowly releasing the hormones required to prevent a pregnancy, the report said.
Researchers say the pill would offer women more choice, and should allay the fears of women who want to take a contraceptive pill but are worried about forgetting to take a daily dose, thereby reducing unwanted pregnancies.
Ameya Kirtane, of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, said: “Coming up with a monthly version of a contraceptive drug could have a tremendous impact on global health.
“The impact that oral contraceptives can have on human health and gender equality cannot be overstated.”