Author Archives: Allison Odger

Allison Odger is a medical anthropologist and a PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology at York University (Toronto, Canada). Her research lies at the intersection of care and surveillance in sexual health.
An IUS model

A Technology of Empowerment and Governance: The IUD/IUS and Sexual Health Care in Toronto, Canada

The intrauterine device (IUD) and the intrauterine system (IUS) have a long and complicated history. The IUD is a contraceptive device inserted into the uterus, which serves as a physical barrier to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg. Its earliest form can be linked to the work of Ernst Gräfenberg[1], who in 1929 created the ring IUD (Thiery 1997). Over the course of several decades, the IUD was constructed and re-constructed in terms of the materials used, its physical shape, and its promotion to women. Through the development process, some devices, such as the Dalkon Shield, caused irreparable damage. In 1969, the first copper IUD was created by Jaime Zipper and Howard J. Tatum, which took the now easily recognizable T-shape form. While the copper IUD was considered successful in terms of its ability to prevent pregnancy, women commonly had it removed due to increased bleeding during menstruation. Subsequently, the intrauterine system (IUS) was created, first by Antonio Scommegna in the 1960s using progesterone and later by Tapani Luukkainen in 1976 using levonorgestrel; this shift increased its effectiveness from a duration of one year to five years. After over a decade of testing, the Mirena IUS was released in Finland – it would not be approved for sale in the United States until 2001. (read more...)