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U.K. compensation for unwanted pregnancies

LONDON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Almost $300,000 has been paid in compensation to British women reporting unwanted pregnancies after implantation of a birth control device, officials said.

The National Health Service says it has received more than 1,000 complaints about Implanon, a device that had been hailed as the future of family planning, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

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The plastic device is injected under a woman's skin and releases the hormone progesterone, supposed to guard against pregnancy for up to three years, the newspaper said.

There have been a total of 1,607 complaints about unwanted pregnancies, scarring and other problems associated with the device, the NHS said, most coming from doctors and nurses who claimed it was difficult to insert properly and could not be checked afterward.

In the most serious cases, NHS Trusts have offered settlements to seven women totaling nearly $300,000.

Some women receiving the implant terminated unwanted pregnancies and suffered the breakdown of relationships.

One woman said her marriage collapsed due to the stress. "I don't want kids at this time. It really disturbed me," the woman, named Lara, said, the newspaper reported.

MSD, the maker of the implant, said it is replacing Implanon with a new contraceptive implant named Nexplanon.

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The active ingredient would remain the same but, unlike Implanon, the new implant would show up on X-rays and CAT scans, the company said in a statement.

The applicator has also been modified, the company said.

"The reports we received from healthcare professionals and consumers played a strong role in the update of the device," a company spokesman said.

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