Birth control has long been the responsibility of women, but that may soon be changing. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has found that a hormonal birth control shot for men can effectively prevent pregnancy in their female partners.
The study involved 320 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 45 who were in monogamous relationships with female partners aged 18 to 38. The men received injections of a hormone called testosterone undecanoate every eight weeks over the course of one year.
During this time, none of the participants’ partners became pregnant. In fact, the effectiveness rate was comparable to that of female contraceptive methods such as birth control pills.
How Does It Work?
The injection works by suppressing sperm production through a combination of hormones. In addition to testosterone, which is responsible for maintaining male sex characteristics, it includes progestin – which prevents ovulation – and an estrogen-like compound called estradiol.
According to Dr Stephanie Page, one of the authors of the study and a professor at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, “We’ve shown that this is possible…It would be completely effective. . . ”
But what exactly happens when men take birth control? Here are some potential benefits and drawbacks:
One obvious benefit is shared responsibility. Women have borne most if not all of this burden for decades; now it’s time for men to step up.
Reduced Risk Of Unplanned Pregnancy
With fewer unplanned pregnancies comes fewer health risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Men currently have just two options: condoms or vasectomy. This would give them another alternative.
Hormonal Side Effects
As with any hormonal therapy, there are potential side effects such as mood swings, acne, headaches, and decreased sex drive.
The injection takes eight weeks to wear off. So it may not be ideal for men who are not in monogamous relationships or who wish to conceive in the near future.
Fertility May Not Return Immediately
It can take up to a year for fertility to return after stopping this form of birth control.
What Men Are Saying
Initial reactions from men have been mixed. Some see it as a welcome development – especially those who have experienced pregnancy scares with their partners.
However, others are hesitant due to concerns over side effects or the ability to conceive down the road.
Here’s what some actual men had to say :
Matthew B. : ”I’ve had my own personal experience using birth control IUDs with past girlfriends. . . so I was very open with Meghan when she brought up that there was going a clinical trial for male birth control. . . The shot didn’t hurt much more than your average flu shot, I’d say, ” he wrote. “It’s tough because clearly Meghan went through way worse than me , but neither option is something either of us were excited about. ”
Mark K. : “I would probably use male birth control if it means that we could share more responsibility on family planning rather than leaving it all on females, ” he told CNN via Facebook messenger. “Plus, there’s no worry about condoms breaking. “
The results of this study offer promise for couples looking for alternative contraceptive options beyond traditional female methods.
While further research is necessary before making any definitive claims about the safety and efficacy of such treatments long-term, early indicators suggest that hormonal contraception shots may soon be a serious consideration for many couples seeking reliable protection against unintended pregnancies.