Men’s Birth Control


Amanda Bowie

Birth control, defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as a “measure taken to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy”, has existed for thousands of years. The earliest account dates back to 1550 B.C.E, when Egyptian women used a mixture of honey, leaves, and lint to block the entrance of sperm. Though methods have evolved, the application has not, for the responsibility of preventing pregnancy falls primarily on women. It appears that this will not change in the near future; a study researching the effectiveness of a male hormonal birth control shot was ended early due to the participants experiencing side effects such as muscle pain, depression, and acne.

The hormonal shot, which worked by temporarily lowering the sperm count of the participants with a mixture of synthetic testosterone and a derivative of female hormones, had a 96% success rate. The side effects experienced were very similar to the ones faced by women using hormonal birth control. It should also be noted that women also face dangerous side effects that the men in the study did not, such as blood clots and potentially fatal strokes.

The fact that there has not yet been a hormonal method of birth control developed for men does not mean that there isn’t an interest. A study published by German researchers found that out of 9,000 male subjects from nine different countries, over half would consider using hormonal birth control. In another study conducted by the National Institute of Health, 70% of women surveyed thought that it was a good idea.

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