Body Blog: Male Birth Control?
Male and female condoms. Birth control pills, shots, patches and rings. As a smart, independent college woman, you’re no doubt familiar with the range of contraceptive options. But soon, a new one may be added to the list – male hormonal birth control.
Over the last several years, hints at the possibility of a reversible form of male birth control have popped up here and there. But new research is providing evidence that a safe, effective form of hormonal birth control for guys is well within reach. And the idea has already built up strong support. This month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will hold a conference to discuss the recent advances in male birth control research.
There are several potential forms of birth control for men, all of which are being thoroughly researched. One method is very similar to existing female birth control pills. It uses the hormones testosterone and progestin to send signals to the body to stop producing sperm. However, there are still issues with side effects for this method in some men. One side effect may surprise you – drinking alcohol when taking these drugs makes patients sick. So, maybe this one isn’t quite ready for college.
Another method involves injecting a gel to inactive sperm into the scrotum. The third method uses an ultrasound to briefly heat the testes, which stops sperm production for months. And, similar to hormone pills, another method involves a hormone implant.
All of these methods have been shown to be reversible, unlike existing procedures such as the vasectomy. More extensive research will be needed to make sure that these forms of birth control really are safe and reliable. But scientists are optimistic – some estimate that a male birth control daily pill could be on the market within 5 to 7 years, and implants may be available even sooner.
This is great news for ladies who may have problems with hormonal birth control. It could also be nice for couples who prefer to avoid condoms for whatever reason – although, as always, no form of hormonal birth control can protect against STDs. So don’t pitch your condom stash just yet!
What do you think? Would you want your boyfriend/friend with benefits/random hookup to try male birth control? And do you think guys will even go for this in the first place? Let us know what you think!