Male Birth Control

April 10, 2023

When we think about birth control, we usually associate it with women. For women, birth control options include IUDs, ovulation trackers, hormone pills, shots, and implants. When most of the responsibility for birth control falls on women, where is men’s birth control? Since the 1970s, attempts have been made to develop a birth control pill for men, but none have been successful.

Contrary to popular belief, women commonly experience side effects due to hormonal birth control. As well as nausea and weight gain, mood swings, missed periods, and other symptoms may also occur.

There are currently a limited number of options for male contraception

Men who are looking to prevent pregnancy have three options on the market right now:

Vasectomy

During a vasectomy, the tubes carrying sperm are cut and sealed, which reduces your sperm supply.

Condoms

The condom is a barrier device intended to prevent the passage of sperm through the vagina.

Outercourse

Sexual acts that do not penetrate the body are referred to as outercourse. Oral sex, fingering, using vibrators, butt plugs, dildos, and handjobs may be considered outercourse by some people. Several styles of outercourse include mutual masturbation.

There is also the option of celibacy and abstinence, which are lifestyle choices that do not allow one to take part in any kind of sexual activity whatsoever.

Identifying an effective pill with minimal side effects, as well as men’s enthusiasm for taking one, are the main obstacles. Taking a pill is likely to be acceptable to men in committed relationships. As a gender, men haven’t had the most reliable track record when it comes to birth control responsibility. Even though female tubal ligations are far more invasive than vasectomy procedures, women are overwhelmingly more likely to undergo surgical sterilization procedures.

Although there are few options, there is good news: several alternatives are being researched. The development of the devices is progressing, even though they will not be available until the foreseeable future.

A new generation of birth control options for men

Pills used for contraception

Several studies have shown that a non-hormonal birth control pill for men appears to be highly effective, and that side effects are minimal.

According to research presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting, the drug has no side effects and is 99 percent effective for preventing pregnancy in mice. In just four weeks, mice given the drug orally became sterile because their sperm count fell so sharply. A few weeks after stopping the drug’s administration, the team noticed the mice’ virility bounced back to normal.

The status of it:

In the coming months, human clinical trials will begin on the new male oral contraceptive.

The COSO bath (Testicle Bath)

COSO is a contraceptive device that neutralizes sperm through ultrasound. A small bowl of water is used by the user to dip their testicles into while ultrasound waves temporarily stop sperm regeneration. It is estimated that COSO will become effective within two weeks and remain effective for at least two months. A six-month period following the last treatment would be necessary for fertility to return to normal.

The status of it:

Currently, COSO is in the clinical testing stage and is making slow progress.

A hormone gel

Researchers believe hormonal gel decreases sperm production without reducing a man’s sex drive, based on preliminary research done elsewhere. Two hormones are contained in this gel: (1) synthetic progesterone known as Nestorone┬«, which decreases sperm production and blocks natural testosterone production in the testes, and (2) testosterone replacement, which is necessary for maintaining sex drive and other hormone-dependent functions.

The status of it:

There are still clinical trials being conducted on hormonal gels.

Hydrogel injectable

Injection-based ADAM by Contraline is the first long-lasting contraceptive injectable hydrogel (up to a year). It’s like an IUD for men.

The status of it:

Clinical trials are currently underway for Contraline.

Vasectomy without surgical intervention

In short, RISUG means ”reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance,” or reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance. In addition to being non-hormonal, minimally invasive, and non-permanent, RISUG can be effective for 10 years or more. People often compare it to getting a vasectomy without having to undergo surgery.

The status of it:

Among the male birth control options in clinical trials in the United States, Vasalgel is the one closest to being marketed in the near future. Vasalgel has not yet begun human clinical trials but is currently undergoing animal and safety testing.

About the Author Kyrie Mattos

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