Women have been almost exclusively responsible for contraception for decades. But today, rumors are circulating about a male version of reliable contraception. And no, it isn’t a condom. Scientists, the ladies want to know: what took so long?
Actually, there are several key differences that make male birth control a real challenge.
Female fertility is simply easier to control.
Women are only fertile for a limited time during their cycles. Men, on the other hand, can make thousands of sperm per day – every day, all day. One orgasm alone produces up to 120 million sperm!
To make a male birth control pill, the effective ingredient would have to increase testosterone production. High levels of testosterone in men are not as safe as the progestin/estrogen counterparts are for women.
Testosterone-based male contraceptives can cause abnormal liver function, weight gain and growth of the prostate gland.
Women’s side effects are more minor and tend to be less severe. In fact, some women experience lighter periods and cramping during their menstrual cycles while taking the pill. Some also see a reduction in their acne (while others see their acne get worse, unfortunately).
Today’s New Development
Very recently, researchers have announced a new form of male birth control that works by breaking apart sperm within the man’s body. It’s an inject-able gel called Vasalgel, which goes right into the vas deferens.
The results? It can reliably prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. And it’s easily reversible, unlike a vasectomy.
Although still being tested in India, tests show that the results are 100% effective and completely reversible. It is hoped to be available in the United States by 2015.
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