Ever since Charles Goodyear (as in Goodyear tires) invented condoms in 1885, science has been pretty slow to make advances in the male contraceptive department. A man carries enough sperm to impregnate a woman every day for a year but a woman can give birth once every nine months. It only takes one man to produce a lot of human beings, yet the expectation of who will be on birth control has historically fallen to women.
Hundreds of contraceptive methods are specifically designed for women’s reproductive systems: IUD’s, patches, shots, uterine implants and a thousand different brands of contraceptive pills. Why are men being left out of this? Men only have three options for contraceptive measures: condoms, the pull-out method and vasectomies. But as of recently, the first male hormonal birth control pill has passed it’s first round of clinical tests.
Male contraceptives have been in the developing stages for decades but some products have finally made it to the clinical stages of testing. Intravenous shots, hormone gels and of course, the hormonal birth control pill will be available to men roughly within the next three to five years. Different amounts of Dimethandrolone Undecanoate (DMAU, for short) were administered to 100 men by random assignment and researchers at the University of Washington and LA BioMed Research Institute observed the effects. The respondents took the hormone pill once daily for 28 days and returned to the lab often to have their vitals measured, behavior and mood changes observed and a checkup on their overall well-being. The results indicated that participants who received higher levels of DMAU produced drastically lower levels of sperm concentration than the control group who were given placebo pills.
If you’ve never been prescribed a daily dose of hormonal contraceptive, you’re probably not familiar with the grocery list of side effects that come along with “the pill.” These can include: acne, weight gain, mood and libido fluctuations, night sweats and tiredness, just to name a few. Guys, if you have sisters, girlfriends or even acquaintances who are on birth control, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about the burden of responsibility that comes with popping a tiny pill at the same time every single day.
If you know a woman taking birth control, go thank her for the courageousness. So many women willingly ingest unnatural amounts of extra hormones and bear the side effects just so we don’t accidentally end up with babies. Ladies are carrying the team. With all this being said, I strongly urge that all men (and women, too) who consider starting hormonal contraceptives to do your own research before starting medications. The long-term effects of hormonal birth control are largely unknown; be sure to separate fact from fiction before you commit to anything that can affect your well-being.