Contraceptives for males have always been limited, but a new method requiring an injection to the testicles gives men an alternative option and more responsibility in family planning.
Condoms, the only other not permanently invasive form of contraception for males, have been around for several thousand years. Even though their effectiveness has increased, the method has been the same. While currently in testing, but soon available for men, it could enable third world countries to combat population increases as well as offer a reliable method for the rest of the world.
Though this new method of birth control is working at 100 percent effectiveness, it seems unlikely that many men will be enthusiastic about this due to the seemingly painful nature of the injection.
As Don Waller, a contraceptives expert and professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Illinois at Chicago put it in Utne Reader, “Men don’t like doctors to have anything to do with their testicles.”
The way it works is quite simple: An injection into the vas of the testicle places an ionic charge on the walls of the tubes in which sperms reside, causing the sperm to burst.
The method could be effective for lengths of up to 10 years, and is reversible by a separate injection.
The procedure, currently in a test stage, is hoped to advance to a point where surgical methods, such as vasectomy, are not needed.
If this stage is reached, this contraceptive option may find wider acceptance because it offers the effectiveness of a surgical vasectomy without the permanence.
While this option may not appeal to the squeamish among men, the advantages of this option may trigger heated debate among couples. Women facing side effects from contraceptive pills, ranging from hot flashes to breast cancer, will likely welcome the availability of a safe alternative.
The injection also provides couples with an economic incentive. The one-time price of $22 rather than $40 per month for the pill, coming in at $4,800 for a 10-year supply, could make it a widely accepted method.
While some may doubt that women would be happy leaving the responsibility for family planning to their male partners, the one-time nature of the new method will allow women to cease using contraceptives blighted by side effects, while knowing they are still protected from unwanted pregnancy.