Making a More Modern Diaphragm
Monday, August 24, 2015
Contraception is not a toy, but the Caya, a new, one-size-fits-most diaphragm, looks like something Polly Pocket might be into: It’s lilac, squishy, and comes in its own little case. The look is part of its appeal. It’s an attempt to break down the stigma that diaphragms are your grandma’s birth control and to make them relevant again.
There was a time when diaphragms, putty-colored cups used to cover the cervix, were the most frequently prescribed form of birth control. They were a sexual standard for half a decade. In the ‘40s, a third of American married couples were using them, but they fell out of favor when hormonal birth-control methods became reliable and inexpensive.
Now, clinics can buy some IUDs for around $50 and most women can get the pill for free through their health insurance. But some women could benefit from another option. If a woman doesn’t want to, or can’t, use hormonal birth control, the next most popular option is a condom. If that, too, is unappealing, or if her partner won’t wear a condom, a diaphragm can fill that need for nonhormonal, female-controlled birth control. Which is why PATH, a Seattle-based global health non-profit, developed Caya.