Men have been using the same contraceptive methods for quite some time now, and condoms, vasectomies and abstinence don’t exactly offer much variety. Women, on the other hand, have multiple contraceptive options and have been using birth control pills since its inception in the 1960s. This places a large weight of responsibility on their shoulders. In an ever-changing world, male hormonal contraceptives could soon be a viable option for men to take on the fertility responsibility.
As a man, would you consider taking birth control pills? As a woman, would you be happy with your partner taking on this responsibility? As a man, are you happy to leave this over to your partner? Do let us know by emailing us at chatback@Parent24.com and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.
The male pill: what it is
Called Dimethandrolone Undecanoate (DMAU), the pill is essentially a small dose of synthetic testosterone and progestin.
How it would work
The DMAU pill is intended to be ingested once every day, in the same way that birth control pills for women are taken daily.
Seeing that the pill consists of synthetic testosterone, it tricks the brain into believing there is enough testosterone in the body and thereby stopping the release of the hormone.
With no testosterone being released, no sperm cells are produced in the testes. Ejaculation could therefore not result in an egg becoming fertilised.
Common arguments for male birth control pills
- The greatest pro male birth control pills argument is that they would greatly decrease the global rate of unintended pregnancies, thereby decreasing the rate of abortion as well.
- Men would be able to have a less permanent option to getting a vasectomy.
- According to scientists, the DMAU pill will not alter male libido.
- More men will be able to take responsibility for contraception and face some of the pill's side effects the way women have done for years. Author and women’s health educator Toni Weschler stated it insightfully: “Once people understand that women are only fertile for a fraction of the time men are, they are especially struck with the inequity of it all.”
- There are women who are unable to take birth control pills for health reasons (apart from side effects), meaning the male birth control pill would greatly benefit them.
- Societal beliefs towards birth control will become more normalised (as unfortunately it isn’t already).
- The costs involved in birth control for women would decrease as more men would have to start paying for their own.
- Also see: Heard of the male contraceptive pill?
Common arguments against male birth control pills
- Men produce roughly one thousand sperm cells per second while women release only one egg a month during ovulation. The main argument against male birth control is that it is easier to prevent the release of one egg per month than to stop the production of millions of sperm cells per day.
- Many women have stated that they are not particularly trusting of men to take the pill daily, feeling that they will be forgetful and not take it as prescribed.
- At this point, men aren’t exactly demanding male birth control pills, so it might be a financial risk for pharmaceutical companies to produce or research.
- A major issue (which has been dubbed a Feminist issue) is that women risk losing the control of conception as men could easily lie about being on the pill as a way to have unprotected sex. Toni Weschler stated, "Given all that women have been through, it is only natural that they would desire to take control of their own medical and reproductive needs with the most effective, least intrusive means possible.”
- Just like the birth control pill for women, the birth control pill for men does not prevent the transmission of STIs.
- More effort needs to go into improving women’s birth control options: making it safer, more affordable or free. Male birth control pills should therefore be put on the back burner until this happens.
While male birth control pills may not be on the market for quite some time, the conversation around it has really caused quite the stir. With all these arguments for and against the DMAU pill, it’s really something worth thinking about.
So, are you against the male birth control pill or do you think it’s time to start putting the ball(s) in their court? (I apologise).
As a man, would you consider taking birth control pills? As a woman, would you be happy with your partner taking on this responsibility? Do let us know by emailing us at chatback@Parent24.com and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.
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