The Oregon Permanent Contraception Research Center (OPERM) was established at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University in November 2014 through a generous grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The long term goal of OPERM is the development of a highly effective, safe, low cost, nonsurgical and highly portable method of permanent contraception to meet the unmet needs of women who have completed desired family size and voluntarily seek permanent contraception. Globally, surgical sterilization is the most common and effective method of birth control. Unfortunately, the acceptability of this important method is limited by its relatively high cost, a scarcity of surgical providers, and surgical risks (particularly in lesser-developed nations). The development of novel, non-surgical methods of permanent contraception would improve access to this family planning method and thus reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, maternal morbidities, and maternal and infant and child mortality.
OPERM provides grant funding, scientific expertise, a nonhuman primate (NHP) animal resource, laboratory and procedural infrastructure, and administrative support to investigators who wish to evaluate novel agents or procedures for permanent female contraception. The objective of OPERM is to identify and complete preclinical development of one or more approaches to nonsurgical permanent contraception in a nonhuman primate model such that the approach can be transitioned into early phase clinical trials in women. A new method of nonsurgical female permanent contraception must be viewed as safe, voluntary, and non-coercive to become highly acceptable. To be successfully adopted, a new method of permanent female contraception will need to follow a careful path toward concurrent regulatory approval in both lesser- and more-developed nations. Since it is anticipated that approaches that adapt safe approved drugs or technologies from other fields may have fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome, these approaches are particularly welcomed.