How has the Pill changed your life?

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1. On the Pill

When the Pill was first developed in 1959 the makers feared it was too controversial to market directly as a contraceptive. So they sold it instead as a medicine to regulate a woman's periods, which also had the side-effect of preventing pregnancy.

Today one in three women of child-bearing age in the UK takes the Pill as a contraceptive. It has been lauded for increasing life choices for women but criticised for weighing them down with the responsibility for not conceiving. Find out how the Pill overhauled our attitude to sex and relationships in Britain, the impact of which we still feel today.

2. CLICKABLE: Weird ways to prevent pregnancy

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The first Pill was synthesised from wild yam after the scientist Russell Marker discovered that Mexican women had been using it as a herbal contraceptive for centuries. Click on the pictures below to discover other methods used by women in history.

3. The Pill arrives in Britain

In 1961, Health Minister Enoch Powell announced the Pill would be available on the NHS at the cost of two shillings.

However, government clinics only prescribed it to married women, while Family Planning Association clinics extended it to women who were engaged.

At first the Pill was mostly used by young, better-educated middle class women such as university students. Many purchased fake engagement rings to get past the regulations. By 1964, some 500,000 British women were taking the Pill.

It only became easily available to all women in 1974 when it was provided free of charge on the NHS.

Early versions of the Pill contained far higher levels of hormones than today and there were growing concerns about dangerous side-effects. Studies began to link the contraceptive to an increased risk from blood clots.

4. CLICKABLE: Promising promiscuity?

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The Pill created shockwaves in British society as it changed both the nature of sex and roles within relationships. Click on the hand above to find out why opinion was so deeply divided over the issue.

5. What is the contraceptive of the future?

Pioneering contraceptives are being developed for both women and men. Which would you choose?

Penis injection

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Penis injection

Clinical trials in India. Expected in 2018

A gel is injected into the tube running from the testes to the penis. This ruptures the tails of passing sperm. It is reversed by flushing with soda and water.

Remote-controlled implant

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Remote-controlled implant

First trials next year. Expected in 2018

An implant that will last for up to 16 years and will be turned on and off via a remote control. It has the backing of Bill and Melinda Gates.

Male Pill

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Male Pill

Trials in Indonesia. Expected in 2016.

This male pill is being synthesised from the gendarussa plant used by tribes in Indonesia. It disrupts an enzyme in sperm that stops them from entering an ovum.

Two-in-one ring

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Two-in-one ring

Clinical trial in US.

A vaginal ring that releases hormones to prevent pregnancy as well as an antiretroviral drug to protect against HIV and herpes. It lasts for three months.