A “Pill” for Men?


Sick of birth control’s side-effects?
Had enough with the bloating, lack of sexual appetite and risk of blood
clot? Simply forgetting to take it? No, there isn’t a new super-pill
for women – its better. 

Now there’s birth control
for men. 

Currently undergoing trials
in Sydney, the twice-monthly injection of testosterone and progestin
tricks the male mind into believing that enough sperm has already been
produced. (Funny, I’ve never needed such elaborate science to trick
male minds.) And according to the city’s Daily Telegraph, studies
have shown that the proposed treatment is 95% effective, about the same
as the
pill for women
,
and men are able to impregnate three months after they stop. Even better,
lead researcher Rob McLachlan told them that it shouldn’t change the
man’s sex life, because the "level of testosterone in the blood
remains the same." Not a bad deal. We don’t get pregnant, and
they
can deal with the side-effects  – whatever those turn out to
be.  

Honestly I’m not a fan of
the pill for myself – I hardly even take Advil. I tried the prescription
briefly in high school; as a sexually active young woman in a monogamous
relationship with a healthy young man, it seemed like a reasonable idea.
But when we broke up I opted out. The very thought tinkering with my
reproductive organs on a scheduled basis seemed unnatural and, since
I was single, unnecessary. When subsequent boyfriends asked me to reconsider,
I’d tell them I’d take care of the birth control – and hand them
a box of Trojans. 

But now the "pill for men"
adds another option. The trials, conducted by the ANZAC Research Institute
in Australia, with funding from CONRAD, an American reproductive health
and HIV prevention agency, has been working on this project since the
1990s. In 2003 they published a proof of principle study, and are now
embarking on its second phase of testing. According to their Andrology
Department’s website, they’re not worried about a buyer once tests
are concluded. "The proof of principle re-kindled the faltering interest
of major multinational pharmaceutical trials in developing a marketable
product that will exploit this approach for an effective, reversible
male hormonal contraceptive." 

It could take years for the
drug to be on the American market, but at least there’s plausible
hope. So he next time a man suggests that you regulate your reproductive
organs with ingestible chemicals, there’s the perfect response: you
do it, honey.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with Elisabeth Garber-Paul please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • therealistmom

    Make the medication into a liquid form that tastes like beer! Talk about motivation!

     Seriously though, it’s about damn time signifigant research is being placed into this.  How long untl the fundies come out of the woodwork with some reason why this form of birth control is wrong beyond the "sex is for babies" argument? They can’t have the responsibility for preventing pregnancy laid on the men’s shoulders, or else it will destroy the whole "women need to be punished for liking sex" ideal.

  • http://davidlevitt.com invalid-0

    So I am, obviously, male (and married). I think the beer idea is a good one lol. I however, think, given the opportunity to have a birth control pill for men, when I was young, would have been great! I would rather be responsible knowing I can’t get a girl pregnant, than relying on her to be telling me the truth. It is a great concept, I hope it works (then the men can take responsibility for something!)

  • alison-ojanengoldsmith

    Great post!  I blogged about this topic last summer(see link below) and I’m glad to see more and more advocates taking on this issue.  This is about reproductive justice.  Just like women, men deserve more birth control methods to control their  fertility and become more active family-planners, to decide when and with whom to become a parent.  We can advocate for men’s choices and responsibility without demonizing women’s choices and responsibility.This is an opportunity to reach out to men and gain support for reproductive health and rights for all.  Bravo, Elisabeth!

    My post:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/09/12/male-birth-control-seeds-revolution

  • http://gnimsh.wolfnix.net invalid-0

    So you think what’s going on now in Australia is great? India has had a reliable, 100% effective male birth control since the early 1990s. When administered correctly, it is 100% effective and can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Its effective in 24 hours, and easily reversible. Oh ya, it has no side effects except swelling of the insertion area, which diminishes in 2 weeks. Talk about a great birth control option.

    So far it seems the only problem facing it is Big Pharma, who won’t make enough money on something that lasts from 5-10 years for it to be profitable. Jerks. But hey, check out RISUG here: http://www.malecontraceptives.org/methods/risug.php

  • http://figleaf.blogspot.com invalid-0

    “I’d tell them I’d take care of the birth control – and hand them a box of Trojans.”

    Having been fertile only a few years of my adult life (via a brief reconnection for planned children before getting re-disconnected) I might not have the right perspective on this but… meh. I still can’t imagine trusting condoms as the only form of birth control. I guess maybe EC means there’s a backup but that’s still hormones. One more reason to look forward to longer-term contraception for men.

    “So he next time a man suggests that you regulate your reproductive organs with ingestible chemicals, there’s the perfect response: you do it, honey.”

    This seems like it’s still putting all contraceptive faith in one partner’s basket.

    Interesting point: according to friends who do replacement therapy if testosterone-based contraception is anything like testosterone-replacement treatments the side effects are increased libido and an increased sense of general well-being. If so then that should make it easier to deal with the pronounced (at least in the U.S.) cost, inconvenience, and soreness of injections *twice a month!*

    figleaf

  • http://www.kindle-2.org invalid-0

    The future of reading has arrived so for those as yet uninitiated, let’s see what makes the Kindle such a big deal.

    Please visit our website http://www.kindle-2.org