If a man wants to take pregnancy prevention into his own hands, his choice basically comes down to condoms, a vasectomy, withdrawal, or abstinence. That’s why it’s so amazing that scientists are finally developing some real advancements when it comes to male contraception.
Conventional male contraception
- Abstinence (doesn’t work well)
- Masturbation (before having sex- doesnt work well either)
- Male condom
- Hormonal therapy, methods being developed but not there yet.
The drawback of surgical approaches (such as vasectomy) especially patient compliance and the low success rates with condoms has spurred research on hormonal contraceptive dosage forms.
Here are few areas where male contraception is being researched and used in some countries
- Hormonal contraception for men is possible, and we are at threshold of an important breakthrough.
- Combined testosterone plus progestin administration is more effective and safer than testosterone alone.
- Combination of testosterone plus an anti-androgenic progestin (has several advantages over other formulations)
- In combined therapy, single injection formulation may have better compliance.
Researchers writing in the April issue of the Open Access Journal Contraception published a rundown of the top emerging options. A few hold real promise, particularly a daily or weekly pill that would deliver a dose of artificial hormones to a guy’s bloodstream, which would then act on reproductive hormones to stop sperm from being produced.
Like the female hormonal pill, the male hormonal pill would be reversible. But also like the female hormonal pill, there appear to be side effects—among them acne, weight gain, and even trickier to work around, changes in testosterone levels that trigger a plunge in libido.
Non-hormonal techniques are also being developed, particularly a vaccine that immunizes men with antibodies to halt to sperm production. The male birth-control shot is encouraging, because it targets sperm directly (rather than targeting other hormones in the body). It doesn’t have the testosterone-lowering side effects of a hormonal pill.
Each injection would last for long intervals (experts aren’t yet sure how long). However, the pregnancy-preventing effects would be reversible if and when a guy decides he’s ready to be a dad.
A novel male contraceptive is within 10-12 years, which may seem far off, but atleast it’s finally within sight.
To know more about male contraception consult Dr Sharmila Majumdar – sexologist.