As of January, the BBC also had numbers from the MHRA, which are as follows:
Nine of the 584 women who reported an unwanted pregnancy used the terms “device failure”, “device dislocation”, “device ineffective” and “device difficult to use” to describe their experience.
But wait, what is this Nexplanon thing? Oh right, something else the Mail wasn’t very clear about. Merck, the maker of both Implanon and its successor, Nexplanon, has already tried to fix some of the insert’s problems, by creating an easier-to-insert, more-likely-to-stay-in-place version, which only just came available last year. The new version is also more easy to see on an X-ray, so that, in the event that it does move under the skin, it can be easily located and removed.
The version that women are having trouble with, then, is not the same version that you’d get if you went to your doctor tomorrow and asked for it. Which means, unless you already have it, the freak-out is really unnecessary. Not that the Daily Mail thought to explain that to you, because they tend to think that all birth control is the devil’s way of allowing British women to hurt men by hoarding their fertility.
Another thing that the Mail alleges is that the Implanon could render a woman infertile, or that she may have to wait “years” to have a child after having the implant put in place. However, there’s no greater risk of infertility with this hormonal birth control than with any others. And, just like any other form of hormonal birth control, women may have to wait for it to run its course before becoming pregnant.
In most cases where the Implanon gets lost, the woman who has the Implanon will know, because she won’t be able to feel it under the skin. At which point, she should go to a doctor immediately have have it checked out. And, while it is possible, I can’t imagine very many women with a thing stuck in their arm who wouldn’t check on it fairly regularly to make sure it was still there.
But, just for funsies, let’s say your Implanon or Nexplanon went missing. In the very worst-case scenario, it’s probably either somewhere else under your skin (like, a few inches from where it’s supposed to be), or in the fatty tissue of your arm (which you would definitely feel). Both of these are pretty easily remedies–you would go get your implant taken out (possibly surgically, which would be inconvenient, but then, so is getting an IUD in and out), and use condoms. It’s really not the end of the world. Which, again, means that the Implanon terror that has been injected into the hearts of women from the UK to California is, again, pretty unnecessary.
Let’s recap what we’ve learned, just in case:
- No hormonal birth control is 100% effective
- An Implanon actually getting lost is very statistically unlikely, but it does happen
- Improper insertion by health care providers is the most likely reason the Implanon or Nexplanon could get lost
- If it does get lost, you’d probably notice, and you can get it taken care of
- Using condoms as a back-up is a good idea if you think your implant may be lost
- There is no need to freak out