Sunday, 30 October 2016

Male Birth Control research halted - but is it even a good idea?

If you haven't heard this shocking news by now then you are late on the poll to be sure, it has been circling the world of social networking in forms of memes and posts for the last week. If you are one of the few that hasn't heard about this appealing information by now, then hold your breathe because it is ridiculous. Okay, here goes - there is a male birth control injection that actually works - but has had it's experimental study cut short due to male participants dropping out. Why did they drop out? Quite simply - they couldn't handle the side effects. What are the side effects, you ask.. well among these recorded side effects that caused the study's termination, it was recorder that; depression, mood-swings, acne and nausea were the main culprits. Sound familiar...?

That's because these are also the top (amongst many others) listed side effects for the female pill, and other female contraceptives. So what can we take from these findings? Apart from the obvious fact that seems to be.. men are pussies (see: the pure supposed existence 'man-flu', for example). It also prompts questions into whether or not the termination of this study is perhaps more than a little bit sexist. 

Until now, birth control has laid sole in the hands of women. Women have had to have things shoved into them, parts of them cut open and orally consumed in order to reduce the risk of pregnancy. Only women, have had to endure these same side-effects in which the male-contraceptive has had it's safety questioned over, amongst many others that were not recorded in the male trials. This breakthrough in scientific medicine could mean that men can take control over their fertility in a more profound way, and even take the pressure their woman in a relationship - say, if the pill causes her immense depression, but the male doesn't experience any side effects with his. As Deborah Orr of The Guardian noted: 'Sex is a shared responsibility - so why not contraception?' 

It really would be a shame if this progression were to be halted indefinitely, as the male injection, and also the male pill which is also being researched, really do work! They consist of 1000ml of synthetic testosterone, and 200ml or norethisterone enanthate, which together trick the brain into believing the correct level of testosterone has already been produced - and halts it from creating more - dramatically lowering or halting the production of sperm. The tests so far have revealed that this combination has proved effective in 96% of participants... that's a big number! That is proof..... it works!

If this eventually came into mass production it would be a big deal. Men would be able to control their own contraception, and the burden wouldn't just lay on us gals! But before we get all glitter and smiles about the whole thing - could the male contraceptive possibility be a negative thing? 

In my opinion, maybe. Although there would be many benefits - such as fewer unplanned pregnancies, and shared responsibility of contraception - I can also invasion a much higher spread of disease. Of course this wouldn't apply to every man - but most men I have spoken to, slept with or are friends with have openly told me that they detest wearing condoms. This male contraception, although decreases fertility, does not stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections. To many, perhaps -  the idea of wearing condoms would become in their eyes obsolete - especially in cases where both parties are on a form on contraception.  I can see it being quite possible that the pressure for women to have unprotected sex could be increased due to the lowered risk of pregnancy. There is also of course the risk of men lying about being on the male pill in order to not use a condom, or not notifying their partner when they have missed a few days, putting the women they are sleeping with at great risk of pregnancy.

So what do you think? Do you think that mass production and availability of a male contraceptive would be a good thing or a bad thing? Would it promote equality or just increase the risk of contracting an STI?

Whether or not men would actually take this contraception if it comes into production has also been questioned. One thing holding further research back is quite simply, that the market for it is poor. Vasectomies are at an all time low and research has shown that the majority of British men would not take the contraceptive pill if it became available (only 11% would)! In slightly more positive news, double that recorded would consider the contraceptive injection - perhaps as it is less frequently taken and is less of a responsibility. However 22% is still a minority - which poses the question: men, would you take on male contraception given the opportunity, and why?

It is clear that there is still a long way to go before we see male contraception introduced into our sexual health clinics and pharmacies - but here's hoping!

Let me know your opinions on the male contraceptive pill below or on my twitter @notjustsexblog

Thanks for reading!

Belle x

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1 comment

  1. I hadn't really looked at it from this point of view before. I hadn't thought that men would possibly lie just to have sex without a condom. A really great post with a very different perspective.
    Ashleigh xxx


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