For the first time, a safe, effective and reversible hormonal male contraceptive appears to be within reach. Several formulations are expected to become commercially available within the near future. Men may soon have the options of a daily pill to be taken orally, a patch or gel to be applied to the skin, an injection given every three months or an implant placed under the skin every 12 months, according to Seattle researchers.
“It largely depends on how funding continues. The technology is there. We know how it would work,” says Dr. Andrea Coviello, who is helping to test several male contraceptives at the Population Center for Research in Reproduction at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Coviello and her colleagues have found that a male contraceptive that releases testosterone over three months is potentially a safe and practical method of contraception. The Seattle researchers have been testing a sustained-released, testosterone micro-capsule, which consists of a thick liquid administered by injection under the skin.
Finally, it is the man’s turn
Women have had the option of a safe, effective and reversible form of contraception since the development of the female oral contraceptive pill in the 1960s.
Female contraceptives use hormones, estrogens and progestins, to shut off the release of eggs to prevent pregnancy. Male hormonal contraceptives work pretty much the same way: hormones, such as testosterone and progestins, are used to turn off sperm production.
Brown has been taking hormonal contraceptives for more than a year. He reports no problems with weight gain or acne, two side effects that occurred in earlier versions of MHCs tested in the 1990s.
“It is time for men to have some control. I think it would empower men and deter some women out there from their nefarious plans,” says Brown. “Some women are out there to use men to get pregnant. This could deter women from doing this. An athlete or a singer is someone who could be a target and they could put a stop to that.”
A range of choices
Over the past 5 years, researchers around the world have had a great deal of success with male contraceptive pills, patches, implants and creams that deliver various amounts of hormones. It is now believed that an MHC in the form of a daily pill could be available on the market within 5 to 7 years and implants could arrive even sooner.
“An injectible or an implant (similar to Norplant for women) will be the first to be approved. The big studies are now under way,” says Dr. Christina Wang, who is heading up the clinical trials of MHCs at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
I think a male contraceptive is actually a GREAT idea for various reasons. What’s your thoughts on the idea? Do you think men would be willing to take it?
To read the complete article: Male birth control pill soon a reality