What if there was a birth control shot for men that was easy to administer, 100% effective, and totally reversible? Sounds pretty good, no? Well apparently, there already is one, it’s just not approved for use in the U.S. yet, and nobody seems to know about it. I, for one, had no clue this miraculous thing existed until I saw this article on Jezebel today. It sounds amazing!
According to a Wired article on the subject, the procedure was invented by a “maverick” Indian scientist named Sujoy Gupta, who has “spent more than 30 years refining the idea while battling bureaucrats in his own country and skeptics worldwide.” Much simpler than a vasectomy, the procedure involves simply injecting the ol’ sperm tubes with a nontoxic substance that chemically incapacitates them as they flow through, rendering them unable of fertilizing the egg. It’s been totally safe and effective for the hundreds of men who’ve participated in the clinical trials so far, which means it could be widely available in India in as little as two years, and the FDA may soon start the (long) process of approving it for use in the U.S. This is exciting.
So why hasn’t anyone been talking about it? Jezebel’s Anna North points out that the Wired article got barely any pick-up on blogs since its publication a month ago, which might just be an oversight on the part of us imperfect bloggers. (I’m adding Wired to my Google reader now, okay?) Beyond that, though, there might be some resistance to the idea on the part of both women and men who think a male birth control shot just sounds weird. With the exception of condoms and vasectomies, birth control has been located in women’s bodies for so long that it might seem strange to move it anywhere else.
I must admit, I like the feeling of control I have knowing that I take my birth control pill at the exact same time every day (well, mostly), and that my boyfriend trusts me to take on this responsibility for the both of us. A male birth control would require me to trust him with this instead, and for him to go through a not un-scary procedure. (Granted, I find any procedure involving a needle scary.) You would have to trust your male partner to a great degree, and I’m sure a few crazy men would lie about having had it in order to get their girlfriends pregnant, just like a few crazy women have lied about being on the pill in order to get pregnant. (Don’t date crazy people, friends.)
But as a way to get off artificial hormones without going through the pain of IUD insertion, this sounds like a really good option, and one I’d probably be interested in, were it available here. Women bear so much of the pain related to both having babies and not having babies, it would be nice to see men take on some of the burden for a change. Maybe if everyone learns about it and starts talking about it more, it will send the FDA a message that we want this option for ourselves in the U.S. So go on, tell your friends! Your baby-free, artificial-hormone-free, I.U.D.-free body will thank you someday.