Posted September 5, 2012 by Daily Mail
The problem with the Implanon device could also force hundreds more to delay their dreams of motherhood.
The implant, which is used by hundreds of thousands of women in the U.S. and abroad, is the size of a matchstick and is inserted under the skin of the upper arm, in a procedure that needs to be carried out by a trained doctor.
After use, the deviceis meant to be removed. It can also be taken out of the body sooner if the woman desires to try and get pregnant, or for health reasons.
However, a number of worried women have revealed on online forums that doctors have been unable to locate their implants – raising fears they may never be able to conceive.
One woman wrote on Yahoo last year that a doctor couldn’t find the implant after a half hour of digging around, and told her to return later.
When she did, the doctor tried finding the birth control for another 40 minutes, to no avail. The woman, identified as Carrie P., wrote: ‘My arm is bruised, so sore, infected, and swollen.
They said they had to find a special ultra sound to find it because a regular ultrasound or X-ray will not pick it up.’
She said she was worried about the possibility of having another surgery from all of the scar tissue.
Another user who had the implant for eight months responded that her implant was deeply embedded in her arm, and it took the doctor nearly two hours to get it out. She said she still felt the effects of the implant even after it was taken out, citing irregular periods.
One user wrote on the Baby-Gaga forum that they decided to remove the implant because of weight gain, a possible side effect from the hormones. She wrote of the ordeal to get it out, which included two visits to her doctor and painful healing.
The woman concluded: ‘I really liked the implant but I was never warned of the position I could now be in. I am awaiting a plastic surgeon to have a go, but to be honest don’t hold out much help. If anyone had warned me that my fertility could have been at risk before I had this procedure I would have stayed on the pill.’
Nici, a woman living in the U.K., told the Sun that she picked the implant because her doctor said it was highly effective and easily reversible.
However, when Nici, 37, wanted it removed because she wanted children, the doctor could not find it to remove the implant. A second doctor had no luck either.
She told the Sun that her hopes for a baby were dwindling. ‘The implant can last five years,’ she lamented. ‘I am left with no chance of having children.’
A representative from Merck said in a statement to MailOnline: ‘On the rare occasion that an implant cannot be located by the doctor or nurse feeling for the implant prior to an attempted removal and an ENG (hormone) test is positive, indicating that an implant has previously been inserted, there are various methods which can be used to help locate the implant.
‘These include ultra-sound and MRI scanning. MSD would always advise women with any concerns to contact their healthcare professional or call the implant helpline number on the user card given to women when they have the implant inserted.’
It is the latest setback for the contraceptive method, which is manufactured by Merck, after a number of women using the device last year found they still became pregnant.
Over three years Implanon releases the hormone progesterone into the blood, which stops the ovaries from releasing eggs and makes the womb less receptive.
But almost 600 pregnancies were reported by women who had used the contraceptive method.
The rod is made from a biodegradable synthetic material, which experts say should not cause any health problems, however a number of women have expressed their fears over potential problems that might arise.
The controversial implants first hit the news last year when a group of women launched legal action after they received the device but still became pregnant.
A total of 584 women who had the small rod inserted in their arms reported unwanted pregnancies to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency – a watchdog group for drugs and medical devices in the United Kingdom. The MHRA found in some cases that the device had not been inserted at all. (read more)