Pharmaceutical giant Bayer Schering Pharma claims to have developed the world's first "natural" birth control pill and has launched it in the U.K. after testing it on 3,000 women.
Rather than the synthetic hormones found in other birth control pills, Qlaira uses bioidentical hormones from natural plant sources.
The company claims users of the new pill experienced shorter periods, with less pain and cramps, than those on the normal pill.
Bayer Schering Pharma is the maker of YAZ contraceptive pill, which is sold in the U.S. Unlike Qlaira, YAZ contains artificial hormones.
The pill works by altering the body's hormone balance, which blocks the ovaries from releasing a new egg.
Sunday night, women's health expert Dr Annie Evans welcomed the new pill.
"I am concerned about the number of women who do not use effective contraception because of fears of risks or side-effects," she said.
Although bioidentical hormones have been touted by some as a safer alternative to artificial hormones, there is scientific evidence to support this theory.
In January, during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey show, actress Suzanne Somers credited bioidentical hormones with helping her through menopause.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing editor for FOXNewshealth.com, warned that bioidentical hormones should be used with caution.
"From a scientific point of view, these hormones are very similar to the ones females have in their bodies,” said Alvarez. “The question always is how much to take, because there are not a lot of studies that have been done proving their benefits.”
Alvarez, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, said some bioidentical hormones that are similar to the female hormone estrogen may increase the risk of certain cancers.