Researchers at Indiana University are working on a new female condom, designed to be easier to use.
Funded by a grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the researchers are seeking to create a female condom with a better fit for women. Via Indiana Public Media:
IU researcher Debby Herbenick and Frank Sadlo, founder of the custom condom company TheyFit, are creating a female condom that has a more elliptical shape as opposed to the more traditional round one, making it fit more naturally with the female body.
"Female condoms are really in their infancy. There are very few designs," Herbenick says. "Current condoms are big and baggy and really don't match a female's anatomy."
"Many men just refuse to use condoms, so if a woman's partner refuses to use a condom or complains about a condom, she can say I'll use one," Herbenick says. "It provides a female-initiated or a female-controlled option."
The funding is an 18 month grant, during which the researchers will finalize their design, search for a manufacturer and create a prototype.
The project is one of 55 in 12 different countries funded by The Gates Foundation to help improve world health. While the foundation has funded condom design research previously, Herbenick said they were for male condoms. Their new funding initiative seeks to provide women with alternatives to birth control. Couples in India will reportedly be the first to try the new female condoms.
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