Male hormonal contraception
Most contraception is for the ladies - but here's a guide to what's cooking in the world of birth control for blokes.
What is it?
To date, condoms have been the only effective form of contraception available to men (unless he's ready for a vasectomy, or feels confident about natural birth control) but this may soon change. For more than 30 years the race has been on to develop a hormonal method of contraception (like the pill for women). Different types of synthetic hormone have been tried, as well as various methods from pills to implants and injections. Now, reports suggest scientists may have come up with a safe and effective method.
How does it work?
The method currently undergoing clinical trial is a combination of two different methods: an injection and an implant under the skin. The injection contains a synthetic form of progestin a hormone that occurs naturally in women but which effectively halts sperm production in men. The catch is it also turns off his testosterone production (the substance that controls male characteristics), so an implant is also required that contains synthetic testosterone, thus stopping the development of big man tits while maintaining his normal sex drive.
How is it taken?
The injection would be required every two months, and the implants need replacing every four months. It has been reported that implants must be inserted under the skin in the abdominal area (the stomach).
- Trial results suggest it to be 100% effective in protecting against pregnancy.
- No serious side-effects reported.
- Effects are reversible, which means male fertility returns when the injections/implants are stopped.
- Implants must be inserted under the skin in the abdominal region. Will require a local anaesthetic.
- Does not protect against sex infections (though condoms can be used at the same time to maximise the risk reduction).
- Men must remember to get repeat jabs/implants at differing times. Hmmm.
It could be years before a male hormonal contraceptive becomes widely available on the market, but trials are developing all the time. Whether it's the implant/injection method, (which is likely), or the male pill (which sounds snappier but remains a less likely prospect), any contender must undergo rigorous trial and testing before receiving approval and licensing.
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