Effective forms of contraceptives have been sought after for generations. Women have had oral contraceptives available since 1960.
The Birth Control Pill changed society and women's rights in exciting new ways, but it seems unfair to leave all of the burdens on the woman in the relationship. While some form of The Pill has been around for the past 60 years, men have had to wait for a useful pharmaceutical contraceptive.
To date, there is still no form of Male contraceptives available on the market. That doesn't mean that scientists aren't making strides, however.
Just last month, in June of 2019, a large scale trial of a breakthrough Male Contraceptive began, and 450 men are testing it with their partners as we speak!
There are a variety of forms of medical contraceptives available to women. A few of the most common options are The Pill, Birth Control Patches, Progesterone Injections, Progesterone Implants, and IUDs.
The first clinically available Male Contraceptive will likely follow none of these administrative routes. Instead, this new and promising study will determine the effectiveness of a Male Contraceptive Cream.
How is Male Contraceptive Cream Administered?
This cream is applied much like Testosterone Creams and Gels are currently used by men that struggle with Testosterone Deficiency. Topical Testosterone is massaged into the skin, where it provides a daily boost of Testosterone.
The Male Contraceptive Cream is designed to be administered to the upper arms, shoulders, and chest, where it will be absorbed into the bloodstream to suppress fertility.
The goal of Male Contraception is to induce temporary infertility without adversely affecting Testosterone Levels or other aspects of male health.
One of the issues with Contraceptives for Women is that they strongly impact the natural rhythm of the female reproductive system. Also, many women have an adverse reaction to Birth Control, which can make it difficult or impossible to stay on the Pill or an IUD.
Men, on the other hand, have less complicated reproductive functions, and the hope is that there is a viable and effective Male Contraceptive that limits fertility without having a significant impact on other aspects of male health, form, and function.
450 Couples Participate in Topical Male Contraception Trial
Participants in this Male Contraceptive Study are all residents of Great Britain. Altogether, 450 couples are working on testing the medication and determining its safety and effectiveness.
It is hypothesized that this new form of contraception will be equally effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy as the Birth Control Pill.
One couple opened up to the Guardian regarding their ongoing trial. James Owers and his partner, Diana Bardsley, are both academics at the University of Edinburgh, where the study is being conducted.
James hopes that his participation in this study will not only help this new Contraceptive hit the market, but he also hopes that the availability of Male Contraceptives will change male attitudes toward Birth Control for the better.
He feels that if men have the option to take Birth Control themselves, it will make them more responsible regarding their sexual activity.
His partner is similarly excited and believes that it will level the playing field for men and women concerning sexuality and reproductive choice.
She feels that a powerful tool like the Male Contraceptive will positively empower men by allowing them to be responsible for their own sexual outcomes.
How Does Topical Male Contraceptive Work?
As mentioned previously, this form of Testosterone is applied to the skin of the shoulders, chest, and upper arm. The active ingredients in the treatments are Progesterone and Testosterone.
Progesterone shuts down the proliferation of sperm by the testes. Continuous application can suppress sperm production to nearly zero.
While Progesterone alone could induce temporary infertility in men, it also causes Testosterone Levels to plummet, which has many adverse consequences, including low libido, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, and mood instability.
By including Testosterone in the formulation, men can achieve the goal of suppressed fertility without sacrificing the physiological benefits of Testosterone.
You may be wondering what has taken so long to get an effective form of Male Birth Control on the market. One of the biggest obstacles is that Testosterone doesn't work when ingested orally.
While Progesterone can be ingested orally and retain its effectiveness, Testosterone is metabolized rapidly by the liver, rendering it minimally effective via oral administration.
The ongoing effectiveness and safety of Testosterone Creams opened the door for Male Contraception. Both Progesterone and Testosterone can be delivered topically, allowing men to maintain normal healthy function while also restricting fertility.
There are other forms of Male Contraception under medical review, but the Birth Control Cream is the closest to being approved for medical use.
For example, in 2016, researchers developed a Male Birth Control Injection that showed significant promise, but it appears that the Male Contraceptive Cream may be the best possible option at this time.
Researchers believe that the cream will provide the same benefits as the injection but with a lower risk of side-effects.
As with Topical Testosterone, there is a risk of Interpersonal Testosterone Transfer associated with the cream. This means that men should either wear a shirt to bed or take a shower before cuddling with their partner at night.
What Are the Results of Using Male Contraceptive Cream?
After six weeks of treatment, James Owers is highly optimistic about the new, experimental birth control treatment. His Sperm Count is nearly non-existent, and the benefits far outweigh the side-effects.
He reports gaining around five pounds, increased libido, and slight blemishes on his lower back.
One major advantage of Male Contraception vs. Female Contraception is that missing a few doses would not have a dramatic impact on the effectiveness of the treatment.
For women, a single missed dose of the Pill can drastically increase fertility rates. For men, it would take weeks to restore normal sperm production.
When Could We See Topical Male Birth Control Available With a Prescription?
This study is still in its initial stages, and will not be completed until sometime in 2020. If the results continue being this favorable, we can hope for a widely available Male Birth Control Cream in the next five years.
The biggest obstacle in the case of a successful trial is finding a pharmaceutical company willing to invest in the product. If the treatment is as safe and effective as it appears to be at this time, hopefully, that won't be an issue!
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