Pearl Pod LLC is based on technology developed by Veterinarian Carlos Gradil, who currently serves as Pearl Pod’s CEO. His initial goal was to improve control of female horse behavior. Female horses can behave erratically during their mating season, which can be disturbing or even dangerous to riders. The traditional remedy has been to insert a glass marble into the uterus, which stimulates progesterone secretion and calms behavior. But marbles require skill to retrieve, and their presence or absence can’t be easily detected.

Dr. Gradil has developed an elegant solution to this problem. He developed an intrauterine device (iUPOD®) made up of plastic-coated magnets, which self-assemble into a shape that keeps them from falling out, while at the same time their individually small size makes insertion and removal very easy. Their presence can be confirmed by ultrasound, or easier yet, they can be detected by simply holding a hand-held metal detector to the mare’s abdomen. At the end of the mating season the magnets can easily be retrieved from the uterus using a magnetic wand. The Pearl Pod iUPOD®s should be useful not only for behavior control, but also to allow horse breeders to synchronize horse ovulation for same-day artificial insemination.

Pearl Pod plans to develop modified devices that include traditional copper or progesterone-eluting coatings to make these iUPOD®s capable of providing reliable reversible contraception. Because of their simple design, ease of insertion, ease of removal and ease of detection, these devices could be used for controlling animal populations in the wild for example, feral equids, and to provide a non-surgical means of controlling fertility in pets.

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