Scientists develop once-a-month birth control pill that could change everything

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say they've made a breakthrough in developing a birth control pill that would only need to be taken once a month.

According to a press release from Dec. 4, the long-lasting capsule would remain in the stomach and release contraceptive drugs over the course of several weeks. One of the most popular forms of birth control is oral contraceptives, per the release, but currently, their effectiveness relies on them being taken every day around the same time.

“It can be hard to remember to take a pill every day, change a patch every week, or change a vaginal ring every month," Dr. Beatrice Chen from the University of Pittsburgh says in the In The Know video featured above. "Having the option of a pill to take once a month could be a great option to give women choices and birth control.”

When the capsule dissolves in the stomach after being swallowed, it unfolds into a star shape which has six arms filled with a medication dosage, says the In The Know video. The drug is then gradually released from each arm over the course of three or four weeks.

Once finished, the capsule will break down and exit safely through the digestive tract. As of now, no tests on humans have been conducted yet, although Robert Langer, a co-author of the study and a professor at MIT, says that human trials could happen within the next three or five years.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested $13 million into furthering the research into developing a monthly contraceptive pill that will work on humans.