It recently came to our attention that unisex condoms exist
And the first of its kind in the world is invented by none other than a Malaysian gynaecologist, Dr John Tang Ing Ching
Tang created and patented Wondaleaf condoms in 2013
According to the Wondaleaf website, they are the world's first three-dimensional contraceptive barrier able to be worn by men and women.
Its creator, Tang, is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Rejang Medical Centre in Sibu, Sarawak.
The idea behind the creation of a new type of condom came to him as he had grown tired of seeing countless unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
He, too, was concerned with the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that existing types of contraception had limited coverage for
"The condom only covers the penis, it does not cover the man's pubic area. A lot of infections, such as herpes simplex or genital warts, occur at the base of the penis," he explained to The Edge in an interview.
"The same thing applies to women. The condom is only good for protection in the vagina. Outside the vagina — the vulva, the labia — they are not protected by the condom."
Through common complaints from patients, he also found that couples did not like using male condoms because they often slipped off and could not be used if a man loses his erection during intimacy.
He found that many of his patients have also never heard of the female condom.
Setting out to solve those issues, Tang came up with his own version of the female condom – Wondaleaf
Unlike regular female condoms, not only does it involve a pouch to be inserted into the vagina, the Wondaleaf also has two adhesive wings that cover the perineal area and lower abdomen.
The extensive coverage prevents direct skin contact and the exchange of body fluid between sexual partners, as well as prevent the risk of slippage during sexual intercourse.
The condom can also be inverted to be placed over a penis, thus making it unisex, and it can be put on without an erection.
Skipping the problem of latex allergies, Tang also decided to create the Wondaleaf from polyurethane – a type of plastic that is stronger and thinner than latex, apart from being waterproof, highly flexible, and chemically inert.
Not only is the material affordable (Wondaleaf is being sold for RM14.95 for a pack of two, compared to other female condoms that usually cost RM12 each), it is also only 0.04mm thin, which provides better heat transfer and tactile sensation than standard condoms.
The doctor has since set up a company, Twin Catalyst, to market the product and continue to research novel medical devices
According to Wondaleaf, Tang's invention has been awarded about RM3 million in federal innovation grants and is approved by Malaysia's Medical Device Authority.
He hopes that the benefits of the new condom will convince consumers to use it, and hopes to go international, although he admitted to Vulcan Post that there is a learning curve in using the condoms.
While continuing his practice in Sibu, Tang has continued to innovate with the same technology and barrier film, creating new designs such as waterproof dressings for minor wounds, stick-on condoms, condom urinary catheters, and even stoma bags for post-abdominal surgery.
Practise safe sex. Contraception is crucial to prevent unwanted pregnancies as well as stop the transmission of STIs: