- A recent study led by Dr Christina Wang in LA shows promising results while testing a male contraceptive pill.
- Early test results indicate that there are minor side effects such as acne, fatigue and headaches.
- According to a survey involving 9000 male participants from over 9 countries, all in committed relationships, more than half would take a male ‘Pill’.
When it comes to contraception, we’re honestly spoilt for choice — provided you’re a woman. Pharmaceutical companies have had us covered on the preventing pregnancy front, from the pill to injectables to loops and implants. But for decades women have mainly had the burden of contraception, so it’s about time men join the party. Queue male oral contraception.
READ MORE: How To Find The Best Birth Control For You
Finally, A Study That Backs Up Male Contraception
In a recent day study led by Dr Christina Wang in LA, men were given a combination of a testosterone synthetic, 11-beta-MNTDC. The chemical was combined with progestogen, basically making it the male equivalent of the pill.
The test results are promising, showing that testosterone levels dropped low enough to potentially suppress sperm production, without any major side effects. While it lowers testosterone production, it does maintain secondary male sexual characteristics like low voice, sexual function and male pattern hair. To safely suppress sperm production, the drug needs to be taken for at least 60-90 days, therefore, longer trials are necessary.
Minor Side Effects
Like any other medication, there are minor side effects such as acne, fatigue and headaches. Out of 30 men, 5 reported decreased libido and 2 reported intermittent erectile dysfunctions. Despite this, nobody stopped the drug due to side-effects, and it passed safety and tolerability tests.
The female pill has similar side-effects, including depressed mood, weight gain, pigmentation and decreased libido. Oral contraception can also increase your risk for blood clots, which could result in a pulmonary embolism and death. Some people argue that if the female pill were still in the study stages today, it might have never been approved, due to the massive side-effect profile.
Despite multiple studies over the last 50 years, not much has changed in terms of options for a male contraceptive. Currently, there are only three options available, condoms, withdrawal and vasectomy. These methods are either user dependent, non-reversible or ineffective. Previous studies on male hormonal contraceptives were thrown out due to unacceptable side-effects.
Sharing The Contraception Burden
But would your guy even be open to trying it? According to a survey involving 9000 male participants from over 9 countries, all in committed relationships, more than half would. More than 55% of men said that they would be open to taking a hormonal contraceptive and that they would prefer a pill to an injectable. The remaining 45% feared that the contraceptive might leave them sterile, or decrease their libido.
According to the study, most women welcome the idea of a shared burden of contraception. Some are afraid that their partners will forget to take it, and that they would rather want the responsibility in their own hands. There is also a risk that STD’s will increase if there is less condom use.
How long do we still have to wait? Dr Christina Wang predicts that a male oral contraceptive will be available on the market in the next 10 years.