Study Reveals Oral Contraceptives For Men Is On The Horizon

If you are sexually active, you probably have considered different ways of protecting yourself from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. When it comes to preventing pregnancy, however, the responsibility has traditionally fallen upon women. But a promising new study has shed light on the future of male contraceptives and the important role they could play in the field of birth control.

According to WebMD, the reason why birth control responsibility usually falls on the female is not necessarily due to neglect on the male's part, but simply because reproductive health services like clinics and contraception options are traditionally geared towards women. Women have a wide variety of birth control options available to them, from pills to shots, patches, and intrauterine devices (IUD). Men, on the other hand, have three options for contraceptives — condoms, vasectomies, and abstaining from sex (per Healthline).

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey reported on by WebMD found that more than 50% of men say they don't have much knowledge on birth control options, with more than 30% of men reporting they feel left out when it comes to the topic.

Fortunately, a new study is showing promise that this gap in responsibility between male and female contraception options may soon be drawing to a close.

Promising research for male birth control

New research presented by the American Chemical Society (ACS) reported impressive results in male mouse subjects who were given a specially formulated non-hormonal birth control pill. After being given the pill, the male mice had a significant decrease in sperm production and were not able to procreate, with no adverse symptoms or side effects. The pill was found to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The impact of the pills was also temporary, as the mice were able to once again procreate after a period of four to six weeks after disuse (per ACS). Researchers report that trials on human participants are due to start towards the end of 2022.

This research is significant as previous endeavors for producing male birth control pills have affected testosterone levels, which negatively impact mood and cholesterol, and can also cause weight gain (via Healthline). The possibility of unwanted side effects has been a significant deterrent when it comes to male oral contraceptives, as director of the Men's Clinic at UCLA, Dr. Jesse Mills, told Healthline. He explained, "The main barrier is finding an effective pill with minimal side effects and the enthusiasm for men to take such a pill."