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D. M. POTTS

World-wide interest in family planning only arose in the latter half of the 1960s and remains small in comparison to the need. The United States Government, for long the largest donor to international family planning, gave, in 1965, a sum of money equivalent to the cost of seven modern tanks, in 1966 the equivalent to seven helicopters and in 1967 to one B52 bomber (Stycos, 1971). Now it is at a rate that will buy one modern aircraft carrier in 10 years. Currently the IPPF is spending each year slightly more than the inhabitants of the United Kingdom invest in backing horses on Derby Day. Rich and poor countries together spend more on colour films for cameras than they do on contraceptives.

Unhappily, family planning programmes have not been structured to work within the real constraints set upon them. Some services in the United States spend as much on recruiting

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G. DAVIS and D. M. POTTS

INTRODUCTION

Menstrual regulation (menstrual aspiration, endometrial aspiration, menses extraction, menses induction) is vacuum curettage of the uterus performed either at, or within a few days of, the expected date of menstruation in women in whom it is possible that unplanned, unwanted conception has occurred.

The technique is not new. Simpson (1872) who attended Queen Victoria in childbirth, described what he called 'dry cupping' of the uterus. Solish (1970) points out that some of the more striking results described by Simpson are probably attributable to having terminated very early pregnancies. In 1927, Bykov described the use of a small syringe and cannula as a method of fertility regulation. In practice, the procedure used was one of menstrual regulation, although the author's own tortuous physiological explanation depended upon a theory of encouraging endometrial hyperaemia to prevent implantation. In the 1950s, Wu & Wu (1958), in the People's Republic of China, described the

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P. A. RACEY and D. M. POTTS

Summary.

Spermatozoa distend the uterus of the overwintering pipistrelle bat and their relationship with the uterine epithelium has been examined. The epithelium actively secretes PAS-positive material and spermatozoa are found orientated with their heads directed towards it over large areas. Electron microscopy has revealed that microvilli originating from the epithelial cells are commonly in contact with the cell membrane of the spermatozoa. It is suggested that this contact may constitute one of the pathways by which nutrient material from the endometrium is transferred to the stored spermatozoa and may account, in part, for the prolonged survival of the spermatozoa in this species. The relationship between spermatozoa and their storage organs is briefly reviewed.

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I. B. WILSON and D. M. POTTS

Summary.

The passage of melanoma cells into the subepithelial tissues of a pseudopregnant mouse uterus was studied at the electron microscope level. A suspension of cells, injected through the cervix, was rapidly distributed along the length of the uterus. Within ½ to 1 hr after transfer, the melanoma cells began to establish a close relationship with the uterine epithelium. In limited areas, the passage of melanoma cells between (and possibly through) epithelial cells was observed within 1 hr of transfer. By 4 hr after transfer, large islands of melanoma cells were present beneath the uterine epithelium in antimesometrial areas of the uterus. No decidual changes were apparent. The ultrastructural changes seen in the maternal cells were similar to those in the initial stages of blastocyst implantation, but the melanoma cells behaved as individual units and passed through the epithelium more rapidly, and with less destruction, than trophoblast.

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D. M. POTTS, I. B. WILSON, and M. S. R. SMITH

Summary.

The ultrastructure of rat blastocysts (114 hr p.c.) transferred to the uterus of pseudopregnant mice (80 hr p.c.) was observed 24 to 36 hr after transfer. The morphology of the blastocyst and of the uterine epithelium was apparently normal for the species and time of pregnancy, but the plasma membranes of the trophoblast and uterine epithelium failed to establish the intimate contact which is characteristic of the later stages of normal implantation.