Postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device

Accessible, safe, and reversible IUD for better women’s health care

Problem statement

About 50% of U.S. pregnancies are unintended (UP) and can cost the U.S. government up to $21B yearly. UP within two years of a previous childbirth can lead to enhanced risk of adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. They can also indirectly impact education and career opportunities for women. Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) are safe, reversible and highly effective. Placing IUDs immediately post-partum can have several benefits, including easy placement and direct access, masked discomfort, accessibility to the patient, and reduced costs. However, these IUDs have a much higher chance of getting expelled (up to 30% higher incidence) as the uterus contracts after pregnancy.

Technology description

A team of clinicians and researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have come up with a simple and effective solution to this problem. Their innovative intrauterine technology (IUT) temporarily tethers any commercially available IUD to the postpartum uterus, greatly increasing retention. The IUT can be provided as a kit containing a barbed biodegradable suture and a novel, disposable insertion device. The loop of biodegradable suture holds IUD in uterus for roughly six weeks, after which the suture degrades but the IUD continues to work as normal. The IUT system works well with most commercially available IUDs including Paragard.

Stage of development

The technology is at an advanced TRL with multiple prototypes built and bench tested. We are looking for commercial partners to enable continued development and distribution to clinicians. IP status: Published United States patent application US 16/485,957