Different sorts of so called IUD (intrauterine devices) are known since 1909 when the very first device of that sort was manufactured. These devices are used for birth control. Through the history of their development there were different shapes and sizes of intrauterine devices. The very first devices were made from bronze or nickel (modern intrauterine devices in most cases are made of plastic). Such device has to be placed (and removed also) by a medical specialist. Of course there are different types of intrauterine devices but typically they can be used for about 2.5 - 10 years. Such devices have proved to be very effective at preventing pregnancy - regular IUD effectiveness is about 99% or even higher.
But these devices also had their side effects. For example, intrauterine device made of copper could make menstrual periods much heavier (and for some women more painful). Modern intrauterine devices do not have that side effect - they are designed so to avoid affecting menstrual period. Dalkon shield is one of the intrauterine devices. It was introduced for the first time in 1970 by Dalkon Corporation.
It appeared in markets of the United States and Puerto Rico. This type of device looked more like a bug. It was round shaped with ten legs (five legs on each side). Dalkon shield usage was similar to other intrauterine devices available at the time.
Like all the other intrauterine devices it had a tail but dalkon shield's tail was different. While all the other intrauterine devices had just a single filament, dalkon shield had several filaments wound together. But probably it is this type of tail that caused the problem. To learn all the facts about dalkon shield usage, you can read one of the easily available dalkon shield descriptions.
In earlier 1970s there were 12 deaths because of miscarriage-related infections. That was believed that this happend due to use of Dalkon Shield. That caused bankruptcy of Dalkon Corporation and production of Dalkon Shield was stopped.
That incident was reflected in the press which seriously harmed the image of all the other intrauterine devices. So, the popularity of that type of birth control started to lower. Even these days it is one of the most unpopular contraceptives in the United States. But in Europe and other countries there was no this negative image of intrauterine devices. And today outside the United States intrauterine devices are probably the most popular way of birth control.
Although modern intrauterine devices have proved their effectiveness and safety, there are many misconceptions about them. Many people believe that intrauterine devices can cause ectopic pregnancies. But in fact it is not so - even more - for a woman who uses intrauterine device the risk of ectopic pregnancy is even lower than for a woman who does not use any mean of birth control. So, in that sense it is pretty safe to use intrauterine device. Another widely spread myth is that intrauterine device can cause infertility. But that is also only a misconception - it was clearly shown that with intrauterine device there is no risk of infertility.