Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

63 Women Sue Contraceptive Makers over Pregnancies; 'It Was a Dream System ... Then I Had Triplets'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

63 Women Sue Contraceptive Makers over Pregnancies; 'It Was a Dream System ... Then I Had Triplets'

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA SMITH

SIXTY-THREE women are suing the m a kers of a "revolutionary" contraceptive device after becoming pregnant while using it.

The Persona machine, intended to reveal "safe" times for women to have sex, was heralded as the biggest breakthrough in contraception since the Pill when it was launched in 1996.

Its natural image and ability to do aw ay with condoms and contraceptive pills were strong selling points.

But hundreds of w omen have complained of unplanned pregnancies or being driven to abortion because the kit wrongly identified their infertile period.

Now 63 have issued a writ claiming up to [pound]150,000 damages each from Bedford-based manufacturer Unipath.

The [pound]49.95 computerised kit takes hormone readings from urine to tell w omen if they are at a "safe" stage of the menstrual cycle. It shows a green light if it is safe to have unprotected sex and red if it is unsafe.

Although Unipath insists the gadget is 94 per cent effective, only 18 months after its launch Britain's deputy chief medical officer warned that the device should not be used by women who

were certain they did not want to become pregnant.

Persona was originally said to be as effective as condoms,but a review by a medical watchdogfound that one in 17 women using the device would become pregnant every year. This compares with one in 100 on the Pill and one in 50 using condoms.

At one time, Marie Stopes International claimed that up to 60 users a month were seeking terminations.

Eloise King, 42, is launching her claim after becoming pregnant while using the device 12 years after she decided not to have any morechildren.

Mrs King, of Poole, already had three children when she discovered she was pregnant with A bbiegayle, now four, just months after buying the kit in 1997.

She said: "I do not want this to happen to any other woman and that is the reason I am taking this action.

"Right from the beginning I had doubts about the accuracy of the Persona machine. …

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