Morag Ramsey

Between life and death: intrauterine device (IUD) use in Sweden, ca. 1960-1975.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a common form of birth control in Sweden, yet the history of their use is largely unwritten. This project investigates the introduction and the use of the modern IUD in Sweden, addressing a significant gap in the Swedish history of reproduction. Spanning from the 1960s until the mid-1970s, the project examines three main areas of interest for IUDs: national clinical use, international foreign aid, and reproductive research. Employing theoretical lenses from Science and Technology Studies (STS) the project traces the networks around IUD use and by using the concept of co-production, shows how technological development and use play an important part in how we understand, discuss, and treat reproduction.

IUDs were used and given meaning by actors concerned with overpopulation and family planning abroad, by those working at and receiving healthcare in local Swedish clinics, and by reproductive researchers collaborating in larger networks. The project investigates how and why IUDs were first used by Swedish institutions and individuals, exploring how a new reproductive technology may have disrupted medical practices, reproductive discourses, and personal family planning efforts. The project argues that IUD use impacted how historical and modern understandings of reproduction have been constructed in Sweden.

Grant administrator
Uppsala University
Reference number
SEK 2,550,000.00
RJ Projects
History of Ideas