Birth Control for Men?

New drug tests may put us one step closer to having a birth control method for men.  According to ABC News, the drug would stop sperm production in men. Previous versions of the drug had a negative effect on the male libido (God forbid), but BMS-189453 does not appear to have an negative sex drive effects.

I have one major problem with this study: it has only been conducted on mice. I’ll save you my long-winded rant on the ethics of animal testing and limit myself to saying that until there are human studies done on male birth control methods, I’m going to save my applause.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has doubts about the efficacy of male birth control. Our very own Amy McCarthy is quoted in the ABC piece as saying that she wouldn’t trust a guy to be taking his birth control pills every day. However, she does say that for people in a long-term, committed relationship, male birth control offers the peace of mind that the couple is double dipping on protection.

There are many additional questions that this study brings up for me. First, what role can BMS-189453 play in preventing HIV, since stopping sperm production would certainly limit one mode of transmission for the HIV virus? Second, will male birth control be available in multiple applications, such as the patch, the Pill, etc., when it is approved by the FDA?

What’s your take on male birth control?  Are you taking a wait and see attitude?  Or do you think this is the next big thing?  I’d love to hear your opinion.

About Serena:
Serena is a freelance writer who enjoys baking, protesting, and playing with little dogs.

Comments

  1. I will be excited to see a sperm-related medical contraceptive that is safe and effective hit the market.
    I think it’s a great addition to the options available to folks who wish to use them for several reasons.

    1) Plenty of folks can’t use the current options for hormonal birth control themselves but would love it if their partners could. And if they would like to double-dip to really really make sure they don’t procreate, all power to them.

    2) If there is trust and commitment in a relationship, the addition of the anti-sperm pill can offer the partner on the anti-egg pill the opportunity to take a break from hormones. These days it’s not uncommon for folks to be taking anti-egg pills from early teens until mid to late 30s.

    3) Plenty of folks with sperm have been clamoring for years for a way to shoulder some of the burden of contraception and/or have greater control/independence for themselves. Yay for the folks who want to share in the responsibility! But also, the same trust issues that lead some folks to say they wouldn’t trust users of the anti-sperm pill to use bc properly or consistently ring true on the flip side. Since the anti-egg pill came out, the romantic partners of its users have had to take it on trust and faith that the users would not lie or be irresponsible about taking the pill. and many a family law case (and soap opera plot line) has developed around folks (allegedly) on the pill intentionally getting pregnant against the desires and without the knowledge of their partners.

    So if they make it safe, and they make it effective, I make with the yay.

    • Thanks for the really on point response, Alexx. Your argument about men trusting women to take the pill is so true. I also love your sperm and egg terminology. Way to break out of the heterosexist model.

  2. I think I’m with Amy–very good for men who are in a longterm relationship, just as I think that’s the best bet for women using bc pills. Because there’s trust and then there’s trust and then there’s HIV and a whole host of other STDs. If only I could convince men and women not to have sex with someone they don’t trust. I swear it’d go a long way towards eliminating unwanted pregnancies and STDS.

    I also don’t know why for the life of me drug companies can’t imagine how they could make money with a male vaccine or patch. First of all, good marketing can create a need out of nothing. (And really, is it hard to sell men on the idea of not getting a woman pregnant?) I mean, did anyone need the Sklanket? I think not!

  3. The ironic thing is that feminists are against male birth control because it puts power back into the hands of males negating their ability to be used as mules to fund the ex-wife’s lifestyle and new boytoy or girl (many feminists are bi/homosexual too). Yet nothing could be more desirable for a male in today’s anti-male society and economic environment than the ability to cease making children with women. It is desirable for men to be able to have relationships without children and I see this as the next great thing for men.

    • @WASP- What do you mean feminists are against male birth control?! I have not met a single feminist who doesn’t want the option of a male pill, too. And feminists aren’t looking for men “to be used as mules to fund” women’s lifestyles. Feminists want women to have the ability to be financially independent! You clearly have no idea what the word “feminism” means.

  4. I love the idea of a male contraceptive. Go birth control team!

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