2010 sees the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the oral contraceptive pill in 1960. This development was made possible by the synthesis of the first orally active progestin some 9 years earlier. The contraceptive pill is the most popular means of family planning in developed countries, and arguably the most effective. It is the most common method of contraception in the USA (18%), Canada (14%), Australia (27%), New Zealand (20%) and most European countries, including the UK (26%)1. Reproductive health and success have in the past and continue today to be important contributors to our survival as a species. However, even from ancient times, there have been attempts to limit the effect of Eve's curse by reducing the number of children and spacing of successive pregnancies. However, it was only with advances in both scientific knowledge and understanding, together with social reforms, that information about birth control and the means to control fertility became widely available in the last century.

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