Men, get ready: Male birth control is almost here
Condoms may soon be a thing of the past thanks to new male birth control
Still searching for the one? You might not have to hunt around much longer. A new form of birth control is on the horizon, and ladies, you may be in luck. This time, it’s not the women who will be required to remember to take a pill each day or get painful shots. This time, it’s on the guys.
What is male birth control?
There are several different types of male birth control currently in medical trials, but they all do the same beautiful thing: suppress sperm production. Midwife and Yale graduate Dr. Aviva Romm says that male birth control changes “serum testosterone hormone levels,” decreasing the amount of sperm produced by up to 90%.
male birth control…decreases the amount of sperm produced by up to 90%
Because male birth control targets testosterone levels, some preliminary studies have shown weight fluctuations and libido loss to be the primary side effects of the drugs. However, even with the possible side effects, 75% of men surveyed about the shot version of male birth control said that they would do it if given the opportunity.
As of right now, there are three primary types of male birth control on the potential market: a gel that would be applied topically, a shot that would be injected directly into the testicles, and a daily pill. Each option does the same thing — suppresses sperm production — but these methods could be adjusted as the medications move further through trials.
How expensive will male birth control be?
It’s taken a while for male birth control research to catch up with female birth control, much to the chagrin of women who have been on some version of the pill for years. Because female birth control has been on the market for such a long time, it will inevitably be less expensive than male birth control when the latter finally enters the market.
Just like female birth control, male birth control (whether it’s the gel, an injection, or the pill) will require a prescription in the United States. It remains unclear whether or not insurance companies will cover male birth control; most companies’ coverage doesn’t include vasectomies or condoms, but it is likely that male birth control will eventually be covered just like female variations.
When will we see male birth control in our pharmacy aisles?
Unfortunately, male birth control probably won’t be available any time soon, at least in the United States. Even though companies are currently researching and creating male birth control products, it will likely be over ten years before people can actually buy and use them due to the FDA’s rigorous testing timeline.
However, men around the world may have much earlier access to male birth control technology. In India, a biomedical engineer named Sujoy Guha has invented a testicular shot that will inactivate sperm instead of inhibiting sperm production. Guha’s drug has gone through clinical trials, and the doctor and his team hope to officially launch Risug (the name of the drug, Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance) soon.
Male birth control probably won’t be available any time soon
Guha not only hopes that Risug will become the new go-to male birth control option, but he also believes that with a second injection, its sperm-inhibiting effects will be proven reversible. His team has seen success in animal trials, but they have yet to test the reversibility in human subjects.
Whether you’re not ready for kids, have a full family, or are merely interested in the science of new medical technologies, male birth control is a massive step in pharmaceutical technology. It might not be coming soon, but it certainly is coming.
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