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1 econstor Make Your Publication Visible A Service of Economics Center zbwleibniz-informationzentrum Economics Braun, Ingo Book Computer and intimacy: the baby computer; a sociological technology case study Provided in Cooperation with: WZB Berlin Social Science Center Suggested Citation: Braun, Ingo (1987): Computer und Intimität: der Baby-Computer; a case study in the sociology of technology, ISBN This version is available at: Standard Terms of Use: The documents on EconStor may be saved and copied for one's own scientific purposes and for private use. You may not reproduce, publicly display, make publicly available, distribute or otherwise use the documents for public or commercial purposes. If the authors have made the documents available under Open Content licenses (in particular CC licenses), the rights of use granted in the license named there apply in deviation from these terms of use. Terms of use: Documents in EconStor may be saved and copied for your personal and scholarly purposes. You are not to copy documents for public or commercial purposes, to exhibit the documents publicly, to make them publicly available on the internet, or to distribute or otherwise use the documents in public. If the documents have been made available under an Open Content License (especially Creative Commons Licenses), you may exercise further usage rights as specified in the indicated license.

2 WZB-Open Access digital copies WZB-Open Access digital copies The following document was digitized for the purpose of free online provision at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung ggmbh (WZB). The WZB has the appropriate usage rights. If, contrary to expectations, you feel that your rights have been infringed by the online publication of the document, please contact the WZB by post or via the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung ggmbh Library and Scientific Information Reichpietschufer 50 D Berlin The following document was digitized at the Berlin Social Science Center ( WZB) in order to make it publicly available online. The WZB has the corresponding rights of use. If, against all possibility, you consider your rights to be violated by the online publication of this document, please contact the WZB by sending a letter or an to: Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) Library and Scientific Information Reichpietschufer 50 D Berlin Digitization and This publication was made available as part of the retro digitization project OA. Further information on the project and a list of approx digitized texts are available at. This text was digitizing and published online as part of the digitizing-project OA More about the project as well as a list of all the digitized documents (ca) can be found at

3 Braun: Computer and intimacy

4 WISSENSCHAFTSZENTRUM BERLIN FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH Research focus on environmental policy (International Institute for Environment and Society - IIUG) Editor in charge: Prof. Dr. Udo Ernst Simonis Co-editor: Prof. Dr. Karl W. German Prof. Dr. Meinolf Dierkes Prof. Dr. Egon Matzner Prof. Dr. Frieder Naschold

5 Ingo Braun Computers and intimacy The baby computer: a sociological technology case study edition sigma

6 The brand name "baby comp" mentioned several times in this volume is a registered trademark of baby comp GmbH., Berlin. The company baby comp GmbH kindly provided the photo on the back of the cover as well as several technical images of their device on the inside of the tape. CIP short title recording of the Deutsche Bibliothek Braun, Ingo: Computer und Intim ität: d. Baby computer: e. tech = sociological Case study / Ingo Braun. [Scientific Center Berlin for Social Research, research focus on environmental policy (Internat. Inst, for the environment and society)]. - Berlin: Ed. Sigma Bohn, ISBN Copyright 1987 by edition sigma rainer bohn Verlag, Berlin. All rights reserved. This work including all of its parts is protected by copyright. Any use outside the narrow limits of copyright law without the publisher's written consent is inadmissible and punishable. This applies in particular to copying, microfilming, translations and saving in electronic systems. Typescript: WTD Scientific Text Service Zierer + Ballsieper, Berlin. Cover design: RB - Execution: A telier Blaumeiser / Bürki, Berlin. Printing: WZB Printed in Germany

7 Table of contents Page 1. INTRODUCTION 7 2. THE HISTORY OF FERTILITY TECHNOLOGY Early fertility technology Present-day fertility technology: the "Pill" THE CASE BABY COMP Home computers and family planning The innovation process The first introductory stations Factors of further dissemination Relevant aspects of contraceptive behavior The first experiences with baby computers and the second self Baby computer and partner relationship The integration into the health system Fertile framework conditions SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK: The baby computer and the contours of a technical body LITERATURE 115

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9 1. Introduction Menstruation Ovulation 1 I I I 1 r ~ i i I 1 1 i I 1 i i i I i 1 !! I I j T i i r e -36 C-

10 Page 7: The phases of the menstrual cycle and the course of the basal temperature 8

11 The baby computer (hereinafter BC) is a new medical-technical device for lay use that has been on the market since September 1986. Since not all readers are likely to be aware of this novelty, a description of the device should first be given. The device, which at first glance could be mistaken for a clock radio, is a minicomputer that is used for family planning. With its help it is possible to prevent pregnancies as well as to support the desire to have children and to plan a pregnancy. The relationship between basal body temperature and ovulation is used for the essential functions of the device. The body temperature is determined daily by the user using a pencil-like thermometer that is connected to the BC via a cable. The function of the device itself is to limit the fertile and infertile days of the user on the basis of the individual data on body temperature and menstrual bleeding with reference to statistical framework data. The BC has attracted a lot of public attention. Especially women's magazines took him on. In them the BC is mainly taken up as a health-friendly alternative to the "pill". Skeptical reactions - as far as they are already available - amount to the fear that we are dealing with a threatening encroachment of the computer system on the intimate life. From a social science perspective, the BC forms a striking interface between a number of current developments that affect the social health system. The BC is of interest, among other things, in connection with the tendency to outsource public health care tasks to private services

12 care areas and in the households ("medical self-care")? - with the complementary tendencies to expand individual forms of body and health planning ("body management"); - with the increasing criticism of medicine fixated on pharmaceuticals (renaissance of "herbal medicine"); - with mechanization processes that increasingly grasp the biological basis of society ("artificial fertilization"). In addition, two aspects make the BC appear particularly suitable for a specific technological-sociological investigation: 1. The BC is probably the first medical expert system1 available which, as far as the term "expert system" has an analytical meaning, really deserves this name. It is assumed here that only the knowledge-based information systems "expert systems" should be named, which can be used by laypeople without any problems and are in principle accessible to "everyone" - in this case clearly to "everyone". Not only this novelty value predestines the BC for a closer examination, because it can be assumed that the BC represents a forerunner of a real wave of advanced body technology. If you take a look at the American market for product innovations, you come across a large number of comparable new developments such as the diet computer, devices that indicate when a harmful UV dose has been reached for the skin, or computer-aided biofeedback systems For contemplation and 1 For the status of medical expert systems, see DOLL

13 2 Concentration support. Regardless of whether microelectronics play a role or not and whether it is a purely medical application - a fixation of further development on these characteristics is unlikely - what this new type of technology has in common is that laypeople are more targeted (temporally, spatially, functional) can intervene in the body as is possible with conventional means and that above all long-term observation and planning of physiological processes will be possible. First of all, the BC can be assigned the function of a technical-sociological key fossil in the sense of a prospective assessment of a new strand of technical development. 2. A field largely neglected in technology research was and is mechanization processes that take place in contexts of activity that are barely utilitarian, especially in those that affect the intimate area of ​​personality. The application of the BC is located in the middle of this area. When dealing with him, existential events in life history and personality development such as birth / death, eroticism, fertility, illness are important. Accordingly, the social integration of BC will depend on the socio-cultural coding of these existential events, i.e. on gender-specific rolleristereotypes, sex taboos, hygiene norms or legal norms such as the 218 receive the future processing of questions about the cultural prerequisites of mechanization processes. This is mainly due to the fact that the fitness and health boom in the USA - the decisive trailblazer for body and health technology devices - has reached a scale that is hardly comprehensible by European standards; see BRITSCH

14 According to what has been mentioned so far, the BC could be taken up as a health technology, as an expert system, as a body technique or as an intimate technique in order to classify it in the respective problem contexts. In contrast, the narrower term "fertility technology" is at the center of consideration and thus the problem areas of contraception and unfulfilled pregnancy. Before I go into more detail about the device, its development and the conditions for its social integration, it seems to me to make a brief description of the history of fertility effects and the techniques used. 12th

15 2. On the history of fertility technology fdjaffcn / iptf t> u fc ^ wan ^ irwnrft / fo U with djiwrtjm Mm Äin # i> craefrörma'tib bcm ^ ßiflfoi bcttum SXann "ntmvorffen fq?" / Rnb he fol Dem rr

16 Page 13: Frontispiece and title of a midwifery textbook from the year For moral reasons, the woman giving birth is shown clothed. 14th

17 2.1 Early fertility technology The forerunners of today's practices for influencing fertility can be traced back to the Middle Ages, even to early antiquity. As can be seen from tradition, almost the current range of desired influencing effects could be achieved even then: temporary suppression of fertility, infertility, restoration and increase in fertility, abortion, the alleviation of disorders of menstrual, pregnancy and climacteric processes as well as the fight against fertility-related diseases (Venereal diseases). Direct forerunners of the latex condom were condoms made of fabric, silk and animal intestines, which have been used to prevent and ward off sexually transmitted diseases since ancient times (PARISOT 1985). A forerunner of modern contraceptive methods based on a combination of mechanical fertilization barriers and chemicals that kill sperm (e.g. diaphragm plus cream) can be seen, for example, as a method that is already described in ancient Egyptian writings (around 1900 and around 1550 BC) (cf. BLUME 1984: 15? DÖRING 1978: 48): A linen cloth coated with a mixture of honey and grated acacia bud leaves should be pushed deep into the vagina before the sexual act. So the honey could form a thin, sperm-impermeable film over the cervix; the acacia buds, as we know today, support the prevention by the fact that the resin ("gummi arabicum") contained in them in the vagina in a fermentation process to the spermicide lactic acid is converted. Incidentally, gum arabic is still contained in some chemical contraceptives today. 15th

18 Title copy of a French textbook on gynecology and obstetrics. The contemporary medical instruments are shown on the right. 16

19 The predominant part of the fertility techniques handed down from history make up herbal mixtures that can be regarded as forerunners of the modern chemical-hormonal means for influencing fertility. In fact, many of these mixtures have been shown to have an effect on fertility. However, the attribution of function, area of ​​application and form of administration of the individual agents were not clearly defined. Often no distinction was made as to whether an agent was to be administered orally or locally (for example in the case of the above-mentioned gum arabic), if one and the same agent was ascribed a preventive, fertility-increasing or other fertility-related effect, or it was assumed that one Means can influence both male and female fertility (for example in the case of the diamond used in the Middle Ages). In addition, fertility-related effects were often associated with pleasure-increasing or intoxicating effects (as with saffron). The knowledge about the manufacture and mode of action of the early fertility drugs lay in antiquity mainly with priests and scholars, in the Middle Ages with magicians, quacks and the so-called "wise women". The various fertility techniques are unlikely to have played a major role in population growth up to our day. With regard to this, however, 3 3 HEINSOHN / KNIEPER / STEGER supported the thesis that medieval contraceptive methods already had a great influence on population growth (1979: 55 ff.). They see indirect evidence of this in the fact that after a two-century period of population decline, at the same time as the witch hunt in the 16th century, i.e. with the destruction of medieval prevention knowledge - see above in the text - and despite the continuing plague, an increase in the Population growth was recorded. It remains to be seen whether this is a fertility-related phenomenon in the strict sense of the general phasing out of contraceptives and abortion drugs, that is, a reverse "pill kink" in the Middle Ages. Non-technical aspects of the persecution of witches that are nevertheless relevant for population growth, such as the persecution and punishment of the killing of children, could also have been decisive. 17th

20 IfllllilllllllllMI With the witch burns, almost all gynecological knowledge of the time - including knowledge of fertility techniques - was destroyed. (Contemporary woodcuts)

However, social institutions are more relevant, such as the right to kill offspring in bourgeois Rome (or comparable rights in the Middle Ages), the introduction of child benefit and foundling homes by Emperor Constantine (n. Ch.) As well as the establishment of marriage and monogamy in general the associated moral code for sexuality in the course of the Christianization that began in the Occident. Christianity was of enormous importance especially for the history of fertility technology insofar as in the high Middle Ages secular legislation began to make the church taboo on contraception, sterilization and abortion in accordance with the Christian commandment to "do more" (cf. BLUME 1984: 30; NOON 1969). Above all, however, the systematic persecution of witches from the 15th century onwards led to the fact that the most important bearers and traditions were the "witches", the majority of whom were "midwifery doctors" (the "wise women") who knew about herbalism of the knowledge of the time about fertility-influencing agents were burned. In Europe, fertility technology based on herbal medicine almost completely disappeared by the 18th century. 19th

22 20

23 2.2 Present-day fertility technology: the "pill" With the exception of the condom, the fertility technologies used today in industrialized countries are products of professional medicine and modern natural sciences.Apart from the condom, most chemical contraceptives (local contraceptives) and some fertility-related drugs to combat diseases of the genital organs, the use of fertility technology is more or less dependent on professional medicine - be it in the context of clinical treatment (e.g. during a surgical procedure sexual organs, sterilization, clinical childbirth or artificial insemination procedures), within the framework of treatment guided by a resident doctor (e.g. for menstrual cramps or fertility disorders), or just by prescription, as in the case of hormonal contraceptives. Fertility technology became a continuous, in the literal sense of the word, everyday part of life through the development of chemical-hormonal preparations, which spread rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s, especially as hormonal ovulation inhibitors. In the meantime, in the Federal Republic of Germany alone, around 100 million packages with a sales volume of almost half a billion DM are sold annually on the market for non-clinically applied, chemical-hormonal agents for influencing fertility (LANGBEIN / MARTIN / WEISS 1985:). "The pill" accounts for over half of the annual turnover. 21

24 14 Contemporary contraceptives in an illustration from 1890: sponge (soaked in spermicidal soapy water or vinegar solution and used as a vaginal tampon), irrigator for vaginal douching and diaphragm 22

25 The great relevance of hormonal ovulation inhibitors for intimate life is already clear from the name they have in everyday language: Similar to the "days" or the "rule", the term "pill" is actually just the name for a form of administration that is not specific to the use any medication - a highly intimate, taboo-based life practice coded for everyone to understand. The social relevance of the pill, which can be regarded as the first widely used fertility technique, becomes clear in the demographic deformation that the spread of the pill brought about and is commonly referred to as the "pill kink" - a "fertility-related" phenomenon that is gradually occurring affected all central societal socialization bodies and in some cases caused a considerable need for regulation in their institutions (school, military service, labor market). With the phenomenon of the "pill" and the whole range of modern contraceptives that appeared in the wake of the pill, one has arrived at the decisive conditions for the development and introduction of BC. The BC is particularly interesting as a potential alternative to the pill, namely as a contraceptive. Therefore, in the following remarks on fertility technology, the focus is on the section of contraceptives. 23

26 Use of contraceptive methods in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1985 (relative frequency in percent. N = 1267) Total 37.1 Pill IUD Condom NFP- - Meth. _ Ro Coitus Dia- Miniinterr. phrag- pill ma 5.9 3.9 3.4 2.1 1.3 age, 1 3.6 5.8 1.6 3.9 1.3 2,, 7 12.8 6.7 6.1 3.0 3.2 0.6 35 and more 24.1 12.4 4.9 2.8 3.3 1, o 1, o Marital status married 33.0 14.6 5.7 4.2 4, 2 0.7 0.7 single 50.0 7.5 4.9 3.9 3.4 3.9 4.0 Primary school education 38.6 10.8 3.8 2.6 4.3 0.2 0 , 5 Middle School 32.1 10.7 7.8 3.0 3.8 Abitur, Univ. 39.6 8.9 7.2 7.2 1.5 1.6 5.7 1.4 2.4 Denomination Catholic 37.4 10.3 5.2 3.8 4.0 y, o 1.2 Protestant 38.4 9.8 5.8 3.4 2.9 1.8 1.8 without 28.5 13.8 9.5 8.6 4.3 8.6 0 number of children none 41.3 6.8 5.8 3.6 3.2 3.5 1,, 8 14.5 5.7 4.6 3.4 0.8 0.8 3 and more 21.7 13.0 5.4 3.3 5.4 0 o further desire to have children yes 44.0 7.5 6.8 5.5 3.2 2.1 2.1 no 30.0 13.7 5.1 2.4 3.1 1.2 1, 2 questionable 40.8 7.2 5.5 5.1 4.3 4.3 4.3 employed yes 37.6 13.2 5.4 4.3 3.6 2.1 2.1 no 34.5 10.5 6.3 3.2 3.7 1.1 1.1 in training 37.2 4.7 6.2 4.1 2.5 3.4 3.4 Net income up to, 2 7.5 7, 0 7.0 1.4 4.4 4,, 5 9.7 4.1 2.8 2.3 3.1 3,, t 10.9 6.4 3.9 4.8 0.3 0, and more 32.7 13.0 7.2 3.9 4.3 0.5 0.5 Source: G. Döring, S. Baur, P. Frank, G. Freundl, U. Sottong: Results of a representative survey on family planning behavior in the Federal Republic of Germany. In: Obstetrics and Frauenheilkunde 46 (1986), p

27 Chem. Medium Mix- Meth. Sterile] Lsation man woman sterile no contact no contraception no information 0.8 1.9 1.3 6.1 6.6 3.5 2.1 13.4 0.3 0.9 0 0.7 1.6 13.7 4.9 15.7 1.0 2.3 0.6 2.3 2.1 0.4 1.1 13.3 1.0 2.1 3.0 14 .7 16.1 0 1.4 12.4 0.5 1.7 2.1 10.3 8.3 0 1.1 12.7 1/1 2.4 0.3 0.5 2.1 3 , 6 1, o 11.9 0.4 2.2 1/6 7.7 9.9 1.6 1.3 14.4 1.1 0.8 0.8 7.0 5.1 7.0 4.6 13.4 1.2 3.7 1.2 2.1 3.3 1.5 0.6 14.3 0.8 1.7 1, o 6.3 6.9 3.6 1, 5 15.4 0.8 2.9 1z0 5.3 6.6 3.7 2.6 13.2 1/7 0 2.6 6.0 6.0 1.7 1.7 6.9 1 / 1 2.2 0.3 1.3 4.0 6.9 3.0 15.2 0.6 1.9 2.1 8.6 7.6 0 0.6 13.1 0 3.3 2, 2 8.7 27.2 0 4.3 6.5 1.2 2,, 8 6.4 2.5 14.4 0.7 2.1 2.7 12.7 12.7 0.3 1, 2 11.0 0.4 1,, 4 6.4 3.4 17.0 1.1 2.1 1/9 5.5 8.3 0.5 1, o 11.1 0.5 2.1 1/3 11.0 8.9 0 1.3 14.9 1.0 2.6 0 1/0 0.6 12.8 4.7 15.9 0.9 4.1 0.9 1/8 3.5 2.2 0.9 13.1 1.0 2.3 1/0 5.6 8.9 3.6 2.0 11.2 0.6 1.8 1/2 7.0 5, 4 2.7 3.0 15.4 0.5 0.9 2.4 10.6 9.1 4.3 1.9 8.2 1 "NFP-Meth." = Methods of natural family planning (mainly based on the temperature method) 25

28 The euphoria of the sixties that the pill was finally a safe, easy-to-use, reversible and inexpensive contraceptive device, gradually gave way to sober, sometimes dysphoric assessments of the pill. Against the background of the long-term experience of the first generations of users at the end of the 1970s, there were increasing reports of application problems and adverse health effects ^ of the pill (including increased risk of cancer and thrombosis, insufficient development of the internal genital organs in very young women, Migraine) .5 The pharmaceutical industry and medicine reacted by first differentiating the range of hormonal contraceptives with a view to greater application and health compatibility5 and then also making non-hormonal, especially intravaginal or intrauterine agents ready for use7. The differentiation of the range of contraceptives 26 The terms "undesirable" and "desired" effects of drugs are preferred to the pair of terms "main and side effects" because the term "side effects" used in everyday language falsely pretends that the "side effects." "must be accepted as a necessary evil of a positively assessed and once and for all established overall effect of a drug. However, since the effect of a drug must be weighed up in each specific application case so that the result of the weighing is quite open and cannot be tied to the drug alone, these terms have not been used in pharmacalogy and medicine for some time; See ROSENBROCK 1986: 50. Detailed in: HAUSER So-called combination, sequential and phase pills, the "minipill", the "morning-after pill" and the three-month injection are now available on the market for hormonal contraceptives. Various depot technologies are under development. These include: 1. Vaginal suppositories and ointments that contain a spermicidal active ingredient; 2. diaphragm and cervical cap, which can be referred to as mechanical barrier techniques; 3. the IUD (intrauterine pessary), of which it is still not known exactly whether it works mechanically, physiologically or chemically; 4. Hormone-containing IUDs.

29 medication has certainly contributed to increasing the contraception rate in general. Although the use of hormonal contraceptives is likely to have increased in recent years, it appears to be declining slightly compared to the use of other means or methods. So there is competition for the ovulation inhibitors. According to a representative survey by Emnid, z.z. in Germany around 40% of all women use hormonal contraceptives, and around 30% use other contraceptive methods. g In addition to the contraceptive methods already addressed by the various contraceptives, the following should be mentioned: 1. The so-called "natural" contraceptive methods that are practiced either without any technical aids or, if necessary, only with aids that do not interfere with bodily functions (coitus interruptus, Knaus- Ogino method, Billings method, Sympto-Termale method, strict and extended temperature method); 2. male or female sterilization; 3. Regular treatment and abortion. 9 The figures in this study on the relative frequency of use are in detail: Pill 37.1%, mini pill 1.3%, IUD 10.3%, condom 5.9%, natural methods 3.9%, coitus interruptus 3.4 %, Diaphragm 2.1%, chemical agents 0.8%, sterilization of men 1.3%, sterilization of women 6.1%, other methods 1.9%, no contraception 11.2%, no information 13.4 %. It is remarkable how much contraception practices differ in different countries. According to studies from the USA (1982) and England (1978), the pill has lost its importance compared to earlier times (23.4% and 28.2%, respectively), but without ever having the same importance as in the Federal Republic of Germany. In England the condom is widely used (24.5%), which has long been known for the Scandinavian countries. In Sweden e.g. 13-14 year olds are introduced to the use of condoms at school. In the USA, sterilization has far surpassed hormonal contraception (43.1%), which is due to the fact that, on the one hand, with the spectacular withdrawal of the IUD from the contraceptive market, no "safe" contraceptive was available besides the pill (see Section 3.2) and that on the other hand the self-esteem of the Americans obviously suffers far less than in Europe and also regardless of gender from sterilization surgery. With regard to BC it is interesting that, in comparison to England and the USA, only in the Federal Republic of Germany a significant number of people practiced natural contraceptive methods; all information from DÖRING et al

30 Pearl indices, side effects and costs of various contraceptive methods 1 Pearl index side effects Costs relative pill 0.03-0.22 Urinary tract infections, circulatory problems (high pressure, thrombosis), weight gain rel. often; further minor Sterilization temperature method (strict application) in o o high - 5 none phys. ^ Low 0.5-3 none very low Intrauterine device (IUD) 0.8-6 irregular bleeding, malaise; Complications rel. rarely slight diaphragm + brazen. Medium 2-25 local irritation possible medium3 Condom 7-14 no phys. ^ Medium3 Chemical medium 5-42 local irritation possible medium3 Coitus interruptus none phys. Zero Time selection (Knaus-Ogino) none zero Vaginal irrigation none very low none Method The Pearl Index indicates the statistical probability of pregnancies occurring per 100 women years. Reading example: Pearl Index 5 = out of 100 women who use this method, an average of five will become pregnant within one year. - Information on the Pearl Index according to: H.-D. Taubert, H. Kühl: Contraception with hormones. A practical Guide. Stuttgart / New York 1981, p. 194 Psychological side effects, a reduction in well-being and enjoyment are often observed. 3 Relative costs depending on the frequency of use.

31 The social sciences played a not insignificant role in the development of the relatively wide range of contraceptive methods currently in use - a fact which, as will be seen, is particularly important in the development of BC. While contraception research was reserved for physicians and natural scientists until the 1970s and research concentrated first on the biological effects and the improvement of hormonal agents, then on the undesirable effects and potential medical-technical alternatives, the importance of social science increased in the During the seventies. An important condition for this was the amendment of the 218, because social science contraception research was increasingly promoted as part of its accompanying measures. * ^ The pregnancy counseling initiated and financed by legislation also benefited sociological research indirectly, as important empirical values ​​were found in the network of counseling centers set up to the problem area of ​​contraception. The 218 was at the same time an important part of the subject of investigation, since the definition of life contained in it, e.g. the legal concerns that still existed with regard to the use of nidation-inhibiting contraceptives (morning-after-pill; spiral), and because - as with his predecessors - he generally the so- The chance of funding for sociological research on the health system increased Not insignificant at that time, if there was a thematic reference to the pill problem. One of the consequences of this was that the pill became the technical artefact best researched by sociology at a time when sociological technology research was only carried out within the framework of industrial-sociological approaches and a special sociology of technology did not yet exist in the profession. At present, there are signs of similarity with regard to the AIDS problem. It should be noted critically whether such a cyclical selection of research topics, which can also be found in other disciplines, does not damage the development of the subject in the long term. 29

32 social conditions defines when abortion is a punishable offense either as part of contraceptive behavior or in its (virtual) relevance for contraceptive behavior. The questions of social science contraception research relate centrally to the discrepancy between, on the one hand, the medical-technical contraceptive options, which in principle guarantee an almost 100% safe conception control, and, on the other hand, the inadequate use of these possibilities by the population. The proportion of unwanted pregnancies is generally used as a relatively meaningful measure of this discrepancy. Studies from German-speaking countries carried out at the end of the 1970s show that around two thirds of all pregnancies were unplanned and around half were at least initially rejected (see MÜNZ / PELIKAN 1978; DEUTSCHER BUNDES TAG 1980; OETER / WILKEN 1981 ). Two general findings on this problem area should first be pointed out. In purely numerical terms, the problem of unwanted pregnancies seems to decrease as the contraceptive rate increases; For the individual affected woman (or partnership), however, the problem that she is confronted with is exacerbated because women today incorporate much more contraceptive measures into their life planning with regard to partnership, training and career (OETER 1981: 64). So we are dealing here with the phenomenon of technology-mediated risk shifting, which is also typical for other social areas, a quantitative easing with qualitative tightening. 30th

330 w p g P 0: g 0> i N Source: H.-D. Taubert, H. Kühl: Contraception with hormones. Stuttgart / New York 1981, S * A practical guide.

The criticism of the medical-technical concept of safety in questions of contraception resulting from the investigations is also important. Since unwanted pregnancies mostly occur in critical phases of the user's life, when switching to another contraceptive, during the "pill break" or in a combination of these three factors, safety information that, as is often the case with so-called natural methods, does not convey the application errors take into account (DÖRING 1984) or, as is the case with the usual Pearl Index data, only refer to continuous use, give a false picture. A distinction should therefore be made between the safety inherent in the method, the safety in use of a method and the safety of a specific contraceptive behavior relating to one or more methods (cf. analogously OETER 1981: 48). ' The available studies provide a very differentiated picture of the questions of when to use contraception or when to take the risk of pregnancy, which social profile characterizes the individual, more or less safe methods, or which conditions application errors depend on. Some results should be named here. The willingness to take risks in contraception is made dependent above all on psychosocial and situational factors, such as the fact that it decreases with the duration and intensity of the partnership. The use of safe contraceptive methods also seems to be determined by socio-structural factors; for example, populations with higher incomes and higher education use more safe contraceptives. Inner psychological factors are often blamed as reasons for application errors and e.g. associated with a suppressed desire to have children or with ambivalences towards one's own sexuality.11 * 32 On this, DÖRING et al. 1986? LUNCH / JAGENOW 1982? on the three levels of explanation mentioned here and their relationship to one another: OETER 1984.

35 Detailed results, insofar as they are relevant to the development and likely dissemination of BC, will be dealt with at the appropriate point below.Finally, it should be noted with regard to social-scientific research on contraception that economics play almost no role for them. Apparently the phenomenon of "contraception" eludes the rationalistic explanations of the "homo oeconomicus". The pill, and especially the BC, have become a prominent subject in marketing and advertising research, tellingly, however, in connection with the testing of value change concepts; see above all WERBEFORSCHÜNG & PRAXIS 6/85. 33

36 34

37 3. The case baby comp OO l OO iji fitì oo mjoo red yellow ^ 1 snnss' I green - - 0

38 Page 35: baby comp - device sketch and display (baby comp GmbH., Berlin) 36

39 3.1 Home computers and family planning The BABY COMP1 was brought onto the market in September 1986 as an instrument for family planning. The term family planning cannot be used as a mere sales-promoting catchphrase, as it has established itself as an umbrella term for practice in the problem area of ​​pregnancy / contraception / abortion in the course of the heterogenization of contraceptive measures and the increasing level of knowledge about the conflict dimensions involved in contraception. With the BC, on the one hand a new development that is atypical for the previous contraceptive practice and on the other hand a very typical new development for mechanization processes in the household was introduced. The BC is atypical and in this sense a "real" novelty because up to now computers, especially knowledge-based variants, have only been used in connection with clinical treatment to influence fertility, if at all. Since it is basically a home computer, albeit of a specific design, its development is not that unusual. If there is an urgent need for planning in any area of ​​work or life, you will not have to wait long for computer support these days. What are the BC's system services in detail? The performance profile of the BC essentially consists of three functions: 1. Informing the user about her fertility status ("self-monitoring"); 2. the storage of your data; 3. the retrospective and prospective assessment of the fertility status of the user. * BABY COMP is a registered trademark of "baby comp GmbH" Berlin. 37

40 For this purpose, the user needs to measure her basal body temperature as regularly as possible at the same time of day as possible and to inform the BC about when the user is menstruating. The latter is entered using a button on the back of the device. The time and date of the temperature measurements and the period of menstruation are automatically recorded by a clock integrated in the device. The individual data input thus consists of time-dependent temperature and menstrual bleeding values. The device itself contains statistical framework data on cycle progressions, a relatively complex statistical computer program and the individual data already entered by the user. On this basis, the BC integrates the user's individual data with the framework data on a daily basis. The longer the user uses the BC, i.e. the more individual data is available to the BC, the more accurate and long-term it can inform her about her fertility status. (9) Alarm clock symbol alarm time 1 (10) Alarm clock symbol - alarm time 2 (11) stroller symbol (display due date) (12) fertilization symbol (display conception (1) display field (T) temperature sensor date) (2) large button (N) power supply unit (13 ) M = symbol for menstruation (3) connection socket for temperature sensor (14) degrees Celsius (or degrees Fahrenheit) (4) connection socket for power supply unit (15) symbol for boy) (5) socket for temperature sensor (during transport) (1 6) Symbol for girl 1 Î gender probable at conception (17) Thermometer symbol (yellow) back (18) Colon: time display, separation of hours / minutes Point: temperature display, separation of degrees / hundredths of a degree no point: date display, separation of day / month (7 ) M button (8) Alarm button 38 (19) Fertility display (20) Four-digit numeric field Display for time, date, temperature, error codes

41 The information output takes place via a display, which consists of a standard LED display, various pictograms and three different colored lights. How the user uses the device as a decision-making aid depends on the purpose for which she wants to use it. If it is used for contraception, the device can use the three lights to indicate in five levels of probability whether the user is in danger of becoming pregnant. But she can also find out when her fertile days can be expected. After several months of feeding the BC with individual data and with a relatively steady cycle, the device should be able to identify almost all of the woman's infertile days and rule out pregnancy with a greater degree of certainty than the pill. If a pregnancy is planned, the BC can be used to determine the favorable days for conception and, based on this, the expected birth. These possible applications should be of particular interest to couples with an unfulfilled desire to have children, as long as there is no organically caused infertility in one of the partners. The days on which a boy or a girl is more likely to be conceived can also be determined. With the device it is also possible to determine relatively early whether a pregnancy is present. In the case of pregnancy, the date of the upcoming birth and the probable date of conception can be determined. Compared to the contraceptives used so far, one can therefore say with reservations that the BC is a comprehensive family planning instrument that claims the full sense of the word and that has a realistic chance of being used and effective as such. As the still large number of women who change contraceptive methods several times shows, this cannot be the case with conventional contraceptives. As an instrument of life planning, the BC 39

42 also occupy a special position compared to the usual home computers. For them, who found their way into households en masse and of whom a few years ago it was assumed that they would be used for more efficient housekeeping, hardly any meaningful applications in domestic life have opened up up to now. The inadequate suitability as a planning instrument can be traced back to the fact that the respective techniques cannot be used individually for the specific living conditions and usage interests of the users, or not to a sufficient extent, with the usual home computers as with conventional contraceptives. E.g. the pill with regard to its mode of action and its undesirable effects, despite the efforts described above to differentiate its mode of application and mode of action, is still a "standard thing". For the user (or the contraceptive couple) it hardly has the character of a subtle planning instrument, more like an (ovulation) "hammer". The instrumentality of home computers is also not far off; However, this is not to be expected from a "waste product" of the computers developed for industry. At most, personal computers could be seen as an exception, but their areas of application are more in professional contexts, so their use only marginally affects private life. Now the possible uses of every technical system depend on the "user interface", as one likes to say, and this in turn largely - what the term surface obscures - depends on the "inner workings" of the system. In the case of the pill, whose user interface consists solely of regular intake - the area of ​​a sphere is the smallest possible volume of a room anyway - and whose effect unfolds in the living body, that should be obvious; in the case of computers, this relationship is 40

43 by no means a matter of course. To a large extent, this is due to the widespread distinction between hardware and software and the often associated notion that application problems, especially with computer-aided planning, can only be dealt with through an improved user interface. Such an attitude usually conceals an understanding of technology that ascribes useful (also interest) unspecific plasticity to technology "in itself" and accordingly regards electronic hardware as an objective reservoir of universal application possibilities, so to speak as "concrete general", of the computer. In the following section on the development of the device, in which the technical implementation problems of the BC performance profile described above are discussed in more detail, special attention is paid to this connection. 41

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45 3.2 The innovation process In the application of the BC, only the physiological connection between ovulation and body temperature is used. Ovulation occurs around the 13th day of the menstrual cycle, and with it, body temperature rises by around 0.3 to 0.5 C in 1 to 2 days. It decreases again at the beginning of the next onset of menstruation. Since it is also known that only one egg cell is released in each cycle, which can only be fertilized for a few hours, and the male sperm cells are only able to fertilize for about 2 to 3 days, the ability to conceive is limited to a short period of time due to the rise in temperature. The contraceptive measure that takes advantage of this connection is called the "temperature method". The temperature method, in turn, belongs to the group of "natural methods", which are also referred to as methods of periodic abstinence, time selection or biological methods. The knowledge of the connection between body temperature and ovulation has been around for a long time, and its implementation in a minicomputer therefore does not represent the true ingenuity of BC. This connection was first suspected in 1904 by van de Velde. Harvey and Crockett came up with the idea of ​​using him for contraception in 1932. Now it was no coincidence that in 1934 the Catholic pastor Wilhelm Hildebrand was the first to create a "prototype" of a practical method of contraception from this, as it could be classified as a method of periodic abstinence, which with the fundamentally negative attitude of the Catholic Church towards contraceptives still on 2 2 In this group of contraceptive methods, a fundamental distinction must be made between the various temperature methods and the so-called calendar methods (e.g. Knaus-Ogino). The latter only include the days of menstruation (sometimes plus such obscure "facts" as the position of the moon) in the calculation of the sterile days and are accordingly uncertain. 43

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47 bar was and is. Ferin presented the first exact instructions for use in 1947. In the German-speaking countries, the temperature method became known to other circles through a guide written by Döring in 1954 (DÖRING 1954). She gained international recognition through a conference of the World Health Organization in 1964, which dealt with her in detail. It has spread in predominantly Catholic countries (cf. DÖRING 1978). In this country, their wider application is e.g. funded by public relations work by the "Working Group on Natural Family Planning of the Catholic Bishops' Conference", by Pro Familia or by women's magazines. Currently around 4% of all women between 15 and 45 years of age in Germany use natural contraceptive methods (cf. DÖRING et al. 1986). The basic idea for the development of the BC was now to use the temperature method with the help of a computer, i.e. the regular measurement of the temperature, the collection of temperature values ​​over a long period of time, the calculation of the fertile days and, above all, the interpretation of the values ​​when irregularities occur (e.g. fever during illness) for the user. The objective was a computer suitable for everyday use for "every woman" without any specialist knowledge, which would not cause any complications even after years of domestic use. This objective was connected with the assumption that the method was previously not used more widely than other contraceptive measures3, but in principle - especially against the background of the increasing criticism of pill medicine and the general trend towards a more natural way of life, so to speak can function as a modern addition to the ethical-religious cultural connection of the temperature method - its 3 According to information from STAEMMLER et al. (1974) the temperature method accounted for around 10% of the contraceptive measures used at the end of the 1960s and the very unsafe Ogino method was the leader at the time (around 40%). 45

48 potential is much greater and will continue to grow. From the Emnid study already cited, one can see that in addition to the approx. 4% women who already practice natural contraceptive methods, about 10% have already used them but could not cope with them, and that another 15% will use them in the future want to practice. The developer of the BC is Werner Steinschulte, a young Berlin gynecologist (born 1954). He has been pursuing the BC idea since 1980 and has developed it over four years, supported by twelve freelancers (engineers, electronics engineers, bio-mathematicians, gynecologists), including the aforementioned G. Döring, probably the most important promoter of the temperature method, in brought to market maturity in the Federal Republic of Germany. For this purpose he founded the "Society for Natural Family Planning" based in Berlin (NFP-GmbH). The biography of the BC developer now contains a number of interesting aspects. In the seventies, Steinschulte also studied social sciences in Frankfurt in addition to his medical degree and was one of the still critical, if less rebellious, students of the 1968 successor. He completed his medical studies at the age of 23, making him the youngest German doctor at the time. During his subsequent work as a research assistant, while dealing with biomathematical problems, he developed an interest in computer science by chance. In the years that followed, he acquired his knowledge of the design, analysis and programming of computer systems on an autodidactic basis. The BC developer therefore comes from the critical-alternative generation to which the Novum BC is aimed, or whose lifestyles and attitudes the device development was based on. Furthermore, his mixed qualifications (medicine, social sciences, computer science) as well as the fact that he is self-taught in his field of activity can be considered typical of the so-called inventor-entrepreneur

49 the renaissance of which until recently was discussed in connection with the many successful start-ups in Silicon Valley. Although the BC is a medical device, it was ultimately not medical, but statistical and social-scientific development work as well as extensive program creation that were of decisive importance for its creation. For the framework data stored in the BC, the already available results of contraception research could be used to a large extent. In the last few decades - as in the multicenter studies of the World Health Organization (WHO) from the 1970s - sufficient numbers of data on the cycle progression of women in different age groups and with a wide variety of physical and health conditions have been compiled and in some cases have even been statistically processed. In this respect, the development work consisted, on the one hand, of taking exceptions to the rule into account to the extent that the targeted contraceptive safety can be guaranteed without excessive technical effort (definition of the deviation standards), and, on the other hand, of aligning the available data with the different device functions (functional differentiation of the Framework data). The social science part of the development consisted of the viewing and processing of the research results mentioned above. In addition to this, special surveys were carried out on application problems and acceptance of natural contraceptive methods. The results of the social science preliminary run were positive in the design of the computer (automatic control or correction of application errors, missing data, outliers), in the design of the user interface (simple data entry, understandability of the display), in the design (name, appearance, size) and in the performance profile (anti- and pro-conception) and 47

50 should also play an important role in the marketing of the BC 4. Because a malfunction of the BC can destroy the data collected over a long period of time or lead to an unwanted pregnancy - both "incidents" mean a more or less major personal catastrophe for the user - the requirements for technical functional reliability are very high. To the extent that the technical device promises to relieve the woman compared to the non-technical application of the temperature method, the requirements for safe handling are of course also transferred from the user to the BC. The BC is the first microelectronic device for domestic use that requires quality and reliability standards that come close to the standards in extremely security-sensitive areas of technology. These security requirements were initially reflected in the system design.In order to prevent the loss of the individual cycle data, the BC has been equipped with an emergency running system that retains the data for up to five years in the event of a power failure. Sub-programs are integrated in the operating system and the statistical routines that automatically check the functionality of the most important devices. The creation of easy-to-understand operating instructions was delegated to an employee of the new chair for verbal communication at the University of the Arts (HdK) in Berlin. However, the result was so bad, i.e. incomprehensible, that the BC development team designed the operating instructions on their own. In other words, where one could most likely assume that the social sciences had competency for device development, it was least given. 48 Comparable to areas of military and aircraft technology; the central control and regulation technology of large-scale systems in supply, administration or industry; the technology of intensive care medicine and prosthetics.

51 check parts and prevent unintentional manipulation. The security requirements also determined the choice of the BC manufacturer. The production of the BC was assigned to the new AEG plant for power electronics in Berlin-Marienfelde because the required quality standards could be guaranteed here, the necessary material and functional tests were possible and, above all, a high-performance automatic assembly machine for electronic components was available. In addition, the AEG, which, as you can imagine, has free capacity, was keen to expand its product range. The BC service is still affiliated to the AEG. He is responsible for technical malfunctions and the device checks to which the device should be subjected every seven years in the course of use. The wide range of services, the various safety precautions and, last but not least, the consideration that a device the size of a home computer would hardly fit in a travel bag or bedroom furniture made it impossible to implement the system design with electronic components available on the market alone. ^ A highly integrated microprocessor specially designed for the BC was necessary. Since no European company could produce it with the required performance and characteristics, the production was outsourced to Texas Instruments. However, Texas Instruments also had problems initially producing the customer-specific chip. The chip required for the BC is of a type that was only recently added to the Texas Instruments product range. Since it could only be produced with a very high reject rate and thus at unacceptably high costs, Texas Instruments relocated - in The device-unspecific chips are supplied by the NEC company. 49

52 Speculation on higher quality standards in European industrial culture - manufacturing to the south of France. The French plant, however, was unable to significantly reduce the reject rate. In the end, the chip production ended up in a plant in Indonesia, which now produces the chip successfully, i.e. with a reject rate of only 60%. This odyssey of chip production ending with Asia illustrates the extensive industrial logistics on which the production of the BC is based, which in this respect has a lot in common with the so-called "world car". Probably due to the global production background, some serious difficulties arose in the collaboration with Texas Instruments. Among other things, due to a mix-up of the chip pattern, a first recall was necessary as soon as the first devices were delivered. Even if such malfunctions caused by a production-related incident are common teething troubles of new household electronics, they are of incomparably greater importance in the safety-sensitive area of ​​contraception. In this respect it is interesting that the Federal Health Office (BGA) could not have intervened here, which it would have been able to do with most other contraceptive methods, at least with regard to harmful side effects. According to the Federal Medicines Act, the BGA is solely responsible for "pharmaceutical-technical artifacts" introduced into the body. In general, safety-related questions in this case, as long as such incidents are not gross negligence in the sense of legal business regulations, are the responsibility of the technical monitoring associations (TÜV) and their regulations on device safety. According to them, the BC must meet protection class II for mains power supply, which is a fully separate primary 50 for medical devices with skin contact

53 and secondary coil in the power supply unit to prevent the line voltage from breaking through. The BC-specific chips also play an important role for backup in another sense. When clarifying the copyright properties of the targeted device, it turned out that only the thermal sensor of the device can be patented. Since only instructions for technical action are patentable - which means objective construction instructions and implies a strict distinction between "hardware" and "software" - and the BC is nothing more than a specifically designed home computer according to this standard, the only option left was the essential ones To protect development services that are reflected in the operating software via the much weaker copyright. Because a copyright - as the rampant underground of circulating pirated copies for PC software shows - actually does not offer any protection, the NFP decided to protect the system technically through certain properties of the microprocessor. The choice of the chip type for the central microprocessors was therefore not only determined by the computing power required, but also by the security quality of the chip. The customer-specific microprocessors are so-called micro-codable chips - a type of chip that ensures that the operating system cannot be decrypted without a great deal of effort. In order to protect operating programs from competition, two methods in particular are used: the use of non-standardized codes at the level of the machine language and the twisting of the individual chip layers in order to reconstruct the logical structure of the chips, which involves a micro-fine grinding of the individual chip layers allows to complicate. The standard economic criterion for the "crack security" of a chip is as follows: The best equipped laboratories in Japan and Taiwan have to rebuild the hardware-based operating system by grinding down the chips and decrypting the logi 51

54 Reason is an important area of ​​application of the chip model used for the BC weapon technology. From a technological point of view, the technology of micro-encodable chips on which the development of BC is based is a product of military research. The overlapping of industrial logistics between civil and military technology is by no means uncommon, but in the case of BC this is not lacking in a certain piquancy: If one interprets modern technological development as a collective drive manifestation of industrial societies, the Freudian assumption seems to be that there is a close connection of libido and destrudo to be true. The financing of the BC project through own funds, bank loans, financial help from the Berlin Senate and the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology represented the main problem of the BC development in phases.1 ^ According to the BC developer, the wealth of technical problems to be solved is conveyed in this respect a wrong impression when most of the time he and his staff had to spend finding donors for the project. The banks in particular caused difficulties for them. Especially in the case of the BC, one can vividly imagine the effort it must have taken to see a graying bank representative with a conservative cut of the 52 structure as much in terms of time and expense as a new development of one's own would cause. The mass psychological interpretation of the American SDI program by JOHNSON is very instructive in this regard. The Berlin Senate granted low-interest loans with non-standard banking securities, the Federal Ministry of Research and Technology provided the NFP with "lost grants", but their approval was dependent on the conduct of social scientific studies on the application - and the chances of acceptance of the BC were made dependent. Two thirds of the social science studies were financed by the BMFT and carried out by the Technical University of Berlin; the exploitation rights of the studies lie with the BMFT.

55 Opportunities for a pill alternative on the post-industrial contraceptive market to convince the baby boomer generation. The result of the development work is a 15 cm large / round device / whose design was deliberately designed to differentiate it from a clinical instrument. The device was named "baby-comp". The coded connection between the area of ​​application and the type of technology used has been removed from the sharpness / that everyday orientations usually give it. The name chosen should help overcome any potential users' shyness towards computer technology. The device has only four buttons, of which only two are used in daily operation. It can be used without prior knowledge of electronic data processing or the temperature method after studying the operating instructions. A firm integration into everyday routines is expected in particular from the alarm clock integrated in the device, which wakes the user daily with a little melody and prompts her to measure the temperature while half asleep. The intended location is a place directly next to the bed, i.e. the bedroom. The daily time required for use is less than a minute, the price of the device is DM. The device can be "connected" to professional medicine through a serial V-24 interface: If the doctor wants to have a look at the cycle progression of a BC user received in the stored data, he can transfer them to a normal personal computer. A special doctor variant of the BC is in preparation. 53

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57 3.3 The first introductory stations The BC has been delivered since August 1986. According to the BC company, devices were already being sold by January 1987. Even before the devices could be bought, the BC was presented at smaller alternative and inventor fairs. He was made known to a wider public at a press conference on the occasion of the medical-technical trade fair MEDICA in autumn 1986. If you trust the general tenor of the press echo of this by far the most important medical-technical performance show in Europe, the BC was one of the few "real" innovations. At the same time, the NFP informed the relevant women's magazines, medical journals, various multipliers (such as Pro Familia) and the tabloid press about the new development. Above all, the women's magazines, which suffer from a chronic shortage of topics, and the tabloids, which are good for any story from the intimate area anyway, gratefully received this. This first acceptance test, so one could say, through the media of everyday culture and the specialist public, turned out roughly as follows: The women's magazines reacted consistently positively to the new development and took up the BC as an important addition to the given spectrum of contraceptive measures. ^ Even the more serious daily and weeklies reported approvingly, albeit with a slightly ironic undertone. They mainly link to more general trends 12 in the spread of microelectronics. The tabloids touted the BC as a sensation, as the alternative to the pill. In the headlines are consistently Anspie- For example in: UNSER KIND, Heft 2, 1985: 42 f.? EL TERN, Heft 3, 1985: 119 f .; VOGUE, No. 5, 1985; PETRA, Heft 9, 1985: 143 f.See for example FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU from? MANN HOME TOMORROW from? FORWARD from

58 lungs on the fertility display ("traffic light"), or the possibility of gender manipulation is highlighted. ^ In contrast, did the medical journals report more sparsely and much more cautiously? 14 the only negative comments can be found here. The pharmacists' journals, on the other hand, responded with interest and positively, which - as will be shown - has relatively obvious reasons. The devices were initially sent on request from interested parties, but in future they will be sold through pharmacies. He was taken over by "Valley Electronics" GmbH, which was founded especially for this purpose. International marketing also begins, for which at least no modifications are necessary on the device side. The BC is already being sold in German-speaking countries. He achieves the relatively largest sales figures in Switzerland, since large pharmacies here have obviously taken him very benevolently. Sales in Italy, France and Sweden, as well as in the Middle East and Colombia are in preparation.16 Access to the American market was relatively difficult, mainly because, as with many other device innovations, there was initially no European insurer for the liability risks took place in the USA. The liability risks, which are high compared to European conditions, are on the one hand 56 About BILD vom; PRALINE, No. 10, 1986? NEUE WELT, Issue 2, ÄRZTEZEITUNG from 21./: 2. See, for example, DEUTSCHE APOTHEKER ZEITUNG No. 1/2 from: During the market launch, the BC company relied on the marketing facility of the Berlin Innovation and Start-Up Center (BIG)? the unusual market contact with Colombia was established by the AEG, that with the Arab states by the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

59 can be traced back to the American legal culture ^ in which, not least as a result of the successful consumer protection movement, the individual consumer enjoys extensive legal claims against the manufacturers, and on the other hand to the greater powers of the American health authorities (Food & Drug Administration) compared to the Federal Health Office Control of BC sales will be subject to. The critical point with contraceptives is of course the supposed contraceptive safety. For example, an American supplier was only allowed to sell his cycle computer on the condition that he marketed it exclusively as a device for optimizing conception and that this was clearly indicated. Because of a spectacular compensation process, which has meanwhile reached a sum of almost four billion DM 19, the spiral has completely disappeared from the American market. By selling through pharmacies, BC is entering the distribution channels of its immediate competition. Here he will come into close contact with the market and have to pass his first economic competition test - to take up the above analogy again. In relation to other contraceptives it is of course largely in line with one another. It should be taken into account here that American civil law takes on substitute functions for the social security system, which is poorly developed in comparison to Europe. This explains the sometimes enormous sums that are disputed in claims for damages. It was the "OVIX" device, which is based on the Sympto-Thermal method; see DAUCHER As one can imagine, this is the highest amount of damage that has ever been fought over in a civil case; See "Der Spiegel" No. 24, 1987: In the early 1980s there were reports in the American press of newborn babies holding the IUD (IUD) that was supposed to prevent them; on the irresponsible practices of the American IUD market see generally MINTZ

60 ratio of substitution competition. What is much more decisive in this early introductory phase, however, is the competition with the so-called "bogus innovations", on which it will depend whether the BC can fully utilize the bonus of a "novelty" that is of interest to all at the market launch. "baby comp" competitor product "Anne" (company photo) 58

61 There is already a number of comparable cycle computers on the market, some of them also in pharmacies, which are around two thirds cheaper and which claim to be able to do something similar to the BC. This competition in particular characterizes the advertising material and press releases of the two BC companies at the moment. Here the BC companies can take advantage of argumentative support from a competent source. A medical-technical study on the reliability and usability of the cheap contraceptive computers, which Prof. G. Döring and one of his colleagues recently carried out, gave them the worst possible report: Because of the technical design or the underlying methods, these devices do not offer acceptable contraception safety or just a greater relief for the user (DÖRING / DAUCHER 1986). The electronic clinical thermometers with integrated liquid crystal displays, which have been available in almost all pharmacies since 1985 at a price between DM 30 and 40, are also a competitor. 59

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