Exploring the Future of Male Birth Control
Apart from refraining from sexual activity, the existing birth control options for men encompass condoms and vasectomy. The withdrawal method is not a dependable option for birth control due to its significant failure rate. Many new methods for male contraception (both Hormonal and non-hormonal) are being researched. We take a look at these methods and what they would mean in the future.
What methods are being developed?
When it comes to birth control methods for penis owners, the classification involves two types of methods which are being researched and developed:
- Hormonal male birth control: Exploration involves synthetic hormones that can safely and efficiently halt the production of sperm.
- Non-hormonal male birth control: Alternate approaches are being explored to hinder the transmission of viable sperm to a woman’s vagina.
What are the metrics to judge birth control methods?
Every birth control approach should be reliable, resulting in minimal unintended pregnancies, and should also be reversible.
Key considerations for male birth control include reliability combined with swift reversibility, minimal mild side effects, no impact on libido, convenient administration or usage, accessibility, and affordability.
Hormonal Birth Control Methods:
This hormonal injection prevents the release of the pituitary hormones that tell the testes to produce sperm. Weekly or monthly injections reduce sperm counts and prevent pregnancy.
The side effects include— injection site pain, acne, weight gain, abnormal blood lipid levels, and psychological effects.
Studies also showed that testosterone alone is not as effective as in combination with progestin (a hormone-like progesterone). Under no circumstances, these injections should be administered without consultation.
2. Hormonal Contraception Gel
This is a topical gel intended for daily skin application. When absorbed, it impedes the development of sperm. The gel is referred to as NES/T.
This gel comprises a blend of Nestorone (NES) and testosterone (T). Nestorone, functioning akin to progesterone, impacts the testes to halt sperm generation. Testosterone, a male hormone, is incorporated to maintain libido. The Gel is still in the developmental stages.
3. Hormonal Combination Injections
These injections amalgamate enduringly influential hormones. An instance is the combination of norethisterone enanthate (NETE) and testosterone undecanoate (TU).
These injections have been tested with intervals of both 6 and 8 weeks. They substantially diminish the production of sperm. Adverse effects encompass localized discomfort at the injection site, acne, muscle discomfort, and fluctuations in mood.
4. The Hormonal Male Pill
Hormonal approaches to male birth control have been explored extensively, including injection methods. Oral forms of testosterone have proven either toxic or require multiple daily doses, which is not feasible.
A novel testosterone-like medication known as dimethandrolone undecanoate has emerged. It can be ingested as a pill and is proficient in inhibiting sperm production.
Adverse effects encompass weight increase, elevated haemoglobin levels, and disruptions in blood lipid levels. The compound is currently awaiting human trials after having shown 99% effectiveness in mice3
What are the non-hormonal methods?
RISUG stands for Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance. Unlike vasectomy, which involves cutting the vas deferens tubes that transport sperm from the testes, RISUG employs a chemical injection into the vas deferens. This substance obstructs the tubes and eliminates any sperm that comes into contact with it. When the desire for parenthood arises, a doctor flushes out the blocking chemical using another specific substance.
The injection is not available yet. It is currently in phase-III clinical trials.
2. Non-hormonal Contraception — IVD
An analogous approach is the intra-vas device (IVD), where a medical professional inserts this device into the vas deferens. This device is used to filter out sperm, thus acting as a preventive measure for pregnancies.
Currently, IVD is in the experimental stage, with ongoing research focused on assessing both its efficacy and safety.
3. Birth Control Vaccine
Eppin, a protein that is present in sperm, has been the subject of a successful vaccine designed to reduce sperm counts. Another avenue for a birth control vaccine involves targeting proteins like GnRH and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone).
However, this birth control vaccine is irreversible for a few males. Additionally, it requires frequent booster doses and doesn’t offer complete reliability.
The ongoing research and development of new male birth control methods present promising advancements in the realm of sexual health and family planning.
These novel methods aim to combine reliability, reversibility, minimal side effects, and convenience. However, it’s important to note that the field is still evolving, with various methods in different stages of development and testing. As these methods continue to progress and undergo further evaluation, they may eventually contribute to a more comprehensive array of options for individuals seeking effective and personalized birth control strategies. Until these new methods are fully established, condoms remain a dependable choice for dual protection against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.