• Fri, Jun 3 2011

Science Invented A Birth Control Shot For Men, So Why Does Nobody Seem To Care?

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.

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  • Blunt_Logic

    In some ways this is also great because you and your partner would be able to be on birth control at the same time, making the likelihood of pregnancy statistically negligible. I like the idea of it being a mutual responsibility. (Unless you can’t tolerate hormones.)

  • MNiM

    Fascinating!

  • Shelley

    Really Jamie? This is a big surprise? Really????????

  • linz

    i also read that they are working on a pill that kills sperm for like a month, about time the boys took responsibility

  • Cassieleigh

    This sounds awesome! I’d love to get off the pill.

    Oh and lately, I’ve seen an article about getting an HPV vaccine for men. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/02/02/hpv.vaccine.men.health/index.html Not only will it help protect them against other diseases, but as they’re carriers and have no chance of getting cervical cancer, they could get the vaccine and protect their partners.

  • c

    The thought of that actually makes me feel uncomfortable. Not sure if it is from the trust aspect or just the concept. But I do like that my SO trusts me and I like having the control over that part of my body/life. I don’t think I would ever get off the pill, I could see random guys lying about having had the shot just to get condomless sex and not think about the consequences.

  • Becky

    I can see this for the guy who doesn’t want to have children yet, and is afraid of someone getting pregnant anyway. I can also see this for the guy whose girlfriend isn’t reliable about taking her pill. Or the guy whose girlfriend can’t take the pill. I can’t take the pill. I have had cancer and my Dr. won’t prescribe it.

  • Shae

    Where was this seven years ago when my fiance got a vasectomy? Bring it to the States!

  • Eryn

    Excuse me while I remain extremely skeptical. If this is even true (it wouldn’t be the first falsely announced new medicine), it’s extremely unlikely to have been properly tested yet. Don’t go demanding new drugs until you know they’re safe. What kind of birth defects might be possible in men treated with this drug? None? Are you SURE, because you have to be pretty sure before putting something into the sperm factory that can mess them up for life. This sort of thing would need a lot of care, a lot of time, and a LOT of research. So don’t go announcing miracle cures on the back of one story you find, and then telling people to demand them. That’s just irresponsible without further information.

  • upset

    If this alternative is completely harmless it should be approved by the US immediately!! The pill can cause women blood clots!