A “Pill” for Men?

Elisabeth Garber-Paul

Sick of birth control's side-effects? Had enough with the bloating, lack of sexual appetite and risk of blood clot? Now there's birth control for men.

Sick of birth control’s side-effects?
Had enough with the bloating, lack of sexual appetite and risk of blood
clot? Simply forgetting to take it? No, there isn’t a new super-pill
for women – its better. 

Now there’s birth control
for men. 

Currently undergoing trials
in Sydney, the twice-monthly injection of testosterone and progestin
tricks the male mind into believing that enough sperm has already been
produced. (Funny, I’ve never needed such elaborate science to trick
male minds.) And according to the city’s Daily Telegraph, studies
have shown that the proposed treatment is 95% effective, about the same
as the
pill for women
and men are able to impregnate three months after they stop. Even better,
lead researcher Rob McLachlan told them that it shouldn’t change the
man’s sex life, because the "level of testosterone in the blood
remains the same." Not a bad deal. We don’t get pregnant, and
can deal with the side-effects  – whatever those turn out to

Honestly I’m not a fan of
the pill for myself – I hardly even take Advil. I tried the prescription
briefly in high school; as a sexually active young woman in a monogamous
relationship with a healthy young man, it seemed like a reasonable idea.
But when we broke up I opted out. The very thought tinkering with my
reproductive organs on a scheduled basis seemed unnatural and, since
I was single, unnecessary. When subsequent boyfriends asked me to reconsider,
I’d tell them I’d take care of the birth control – and hand them
a box of Trojans. 

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But now the "pill for men"
adds another option. The trials, conducted by the ANZAC Research Institute
in Australia, with funding from CONRAD, an American reproductive health
and HIV prevention agency, has been working on this project since the
1990s. In 2003 they published a proof of principle study, and are now
embarking on its second phase of testing. According to their Andrology
Department’s website, they’re not worried about a buyer once tests
are concluded. "The proof of principle re-kindled the faltering interest
of major multinational pharmaceutical trials in developing a marketable
product that will exploit this approach for an effective, reversible
male hormonal contraceptive." 

It could take years for the
drug to be on the American market, but at least there’s plausible
hope. So he next time a man suggests that you regulate your reproductive
organs with ingestible chemicals, there’s the perfect response: you
do it, honey.

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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