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THE SINGAPORE MAGAZINE OF RESEARCH,
TECHNOLOGY AND EDUCATION
About Innovation
FEATURE:
The Pill and Other Technological Sexual Liberators
Carl Djerassi is unapologetic about his invention, both reviled as the root of promiscuity and celebrated as the liberator of women. The scientist started writing novels in his sixties and plays in his early seventies with the aim of bringing science to the public in a manner he cleverly disguises as fiction but adamantly denies is science fiction.

INNOVATION's Lay Leng Tan talks to the father of the Pill about his feelings on the current plunging birth rate in developed countries and the new technologies that may be threatening family coherence.

by Linda LIM

Innovation:

What recent advances in contraceptives have had an impact on sex and reproduction?

Djerassi:

Not much has happened in the field of contraception for women in the last 30 years, at least in the context of pharmaceutical companies. The 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world are ignoring male contraception, and only two of them are working on minor improvements of existing female contraceptives. They focus instead on the diseases of the affluent, especially the ageing population of Western Europe, North America, and Japan.

Family size has gone down tremendously in Western Europe, Singapore, and Japan. China, which promulgates the "one child per family" policy, has had an enormous impact on the world's population growth by virtue of its sheer size.

The Pill created a sexual revolution by making it possible for people to enjoy sex without paying the penalty - having children. On the other side of the coin, it is possible to have a child simply by stopping contraceptive use.

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