Infertility

or other components of the reproductive process in either sex; these are being developed.

4. Inhibition of ovulation presents a different and easier biological problem. There is no need to suppress continuous formation of the gametes, as in the male, but only to prevent their release from the ovary approximately 13 times a year. Either the pituitary gonadotrophin may be inhibited or the ovary may be made unresponsive to it.

5. Prevention of fertilisation: the female genital tract may be made inhospitable to spermatozoa, e.g. by altering cervical mucus or fallopian tube function.

6. Antizygotic drugs: compounds effective in the rat have been developed.

7. Inhibition of implantation: implantation does not occur unless the endometrium is in the right state, and this depends on a delicate balance between oestrogen and progesterone. This balance can readily be disturbed.

8. Use of spermicides in the vagina (They are used in combination with barrier methods. This is strictly chemical rather than hormonal contraception; as also are intrauterine devices that contain copper, which is gametocidal).

Hormonal contraception in women comprises

• Oestrogen and progestogen (combined and phased administration)

• Progestogen alone

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