The mode of action of intra-uterine devices (IUDs) has been postulated by several investigators to involve a pharmacologically active substance capable of inhibiting the uterine decidual response or of actively cytolysing the pre-implantation blastocysts (Marston & Chang, 1965; Marston & Kelly, 1969; Doyle & Margolis, 1963; Batta & Chaudhury, 1968a, b; Parr, Schaedler & Hirsch, 1967). An investigation of the effect of uterine secretions on ovarian function and embryonic survival in the rat is reported here.Rats (180 to 250 g; Holtzman Co.) were maintained as previously described (Anderson, Melampy & Chen, 1967). Daily vaginal smears were taken. Day 1 was characterized by the appearance of spermatozoa in mated animals. In the first series of experiments (Table 1), laparotomies were carried out under ether anaesthesia, using clean but not sterile technique,
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