Bill Gates has contributed £3.1m to create a non-surgical permanent method of contraception

'My goal is very simple: to make every pregnancy planned and highly desired' says project leader Dr Jeffrey Jensen

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The Independent Online

Bill Gates has contributed a $5 million (£3.1 million) grant to research to create a non-surgical, permanent method of contraception.

The aim of the grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is to "to develop additional safe, effective, acceptable and accessible methods of permanent or very long-acting contraception that will fill an unmet need for women who have reached their desired family size and do not wish to become pregnant again."

The team at the Oregon Health & Science University, headed by Dr Jeffrey Jensen, have been researching an approach on rhesus monkeys and baboons: the use of polidocanol foam, an FDA-approved treatment for varicose veins.

The approach bypasses the cumbersome and lengthy regulatory process for new treatments and drugs.

"My belief is we can adapt existing agents and repurpose them and that would reduce the development time and improve our ability to get the work done," Dr Jensen said.

"We hope to work out factors that improve the effectiveness of the approach and move into human clinical studies."

"My goal is very simple: to make every pregnancy planned and highly desired."

Current methods of permanent contraception involve surgery, creating a cost barrier for some wishing to take the procedures.

Dr Jensen cited a recent study showed that 50 percent of women in Uganda no longer wish to become pregnant, but only 2 percent have access to permanent contraception.