Who has the responsibility to avoid pregnancy?
For years, the contraceptive methods available have generally made it a woman’s responsibility. Women can choose from a variety of options to control fertility, while in the case of men the options are very limited.
Now a study has found a new hormonal contraceptive injection that seems to be as effective as the female pill.
A great step so that the responsibility of family planning can be divided more equally between men and women. But, for now, this possibility is still a dream.
The study on this new male contraceptive has stopped prematurely after the men who tried it complained of its side effects such as mood swings, an altered libido and acne.
In other words, when men experienced the same side effects that women who are already taking contraceptives face every day.
A highly effective male contraceptive.
The new male contraceptive consisted of an injection of testosterone and progestin every 8 weeks. Its action is to block the production of sperm by its action on the pituitary gland.
This male contraceptive was 96% effective in preventing pregnancy. An efficacy greater than that of condoms (which is approximately 82%) and very similar to the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives for women.
Men who seek temporary birth control can only resort to condoms, so more than 75% of men who completed the study said they would use this method of contraception if it were for sale.
The problem came from some of its side effects. There were 20 participants who dropped out of the study due to side effects. There was even a case of suicide during the study (although they are not sure if this was related to the medication).
Study participants reported side effects such as acne, pain, increased sexual desire, mood disorders and depression. What has caused the study to be interrupted.
The decision to stop the study came from the Independent Data Security and Surveillance Committee and the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the World Health Organization.
Are men unable to “endure” the same side effects that women have been suffering for years?
The decision to cease the study has led to many criticisms.
Many think that with this decision a double standard has been established, since female contraception can also be related to depression and other side effects. They argue that men are being “protected” from the same side effects that women have to accept.
Although women who are taking hormonal contraceptives also suffer from side effects related to mental health, it seems that the comparison is not so simple.
Those responsible claim that the interruption of the study in men is because historically there has not been much research on hormonal birth control in men, and that is why it has been necessary to be cautious.
Other male contraceptives in the study phase.
In addition to the one mentioned above, and for the issue of contraception to be not only a matter of women, there are several studies aimed at finding a male contraceptive (in addition to condoms or vasectomies).
Some of the most notable are:
• Researchers in the United Kingdom and Portugal have discovered a chemical peptide that penetrates sperm and inhibits its ability to move, thus causing temporary infertility.
This type of male contraceptive could be administered by means of a skin patch, a pill or a nasal spray. It would have an almost instantaneous effect, so it could be administered even minutes before having sex. The effects would disappear in a matter of hours or days.
This contraceptive has only been tested in animal and human sperm in the laboratory, and it is expected that animal tests will begin in the next two to three years.
• Another contraceptive that also seems to be quite effective is Vasalgel. It is a non-hormonal male contraceptive that was estimated to be available for sale around 2018-2020, and that would change the way we view contraception forever.
Vasalgel is essentially a polymer that is injected under local anesthesia in the vas deferens, which transport the sperm.