There must be no need to say much about how unequal the current contraceptive methods are. In today’s technology has been so developed, there is no contraceptive pill for men, it is strange to think. Every few years, scientists say , “It’s coming up” but in the end they end up emptying the bamboo basket. In the long run, people have been looking forward to this.
But where are the obstacles? Is it not enough, or is it underfunded, or what is the reason? Is social factors, science and technology, or the characteristics of the “egg” itself hindering the development of male contraceptives? Let’s see what a few scientists think about this.
Lisa Compaq Engelstein
Associate Professor and Associate Director, Alton March ego Institute, USA, and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Albany School of Medicine
Some people think this is due to scientific reasons, because controlling hundreds of sperm is much more difficult than controlling an individual egg. But I think there are other reasons, there are many other factors involved, and many of them are related to gender norms.
For example, we tend to associate childbirth with women and assume that all reproductive matters are “women’s business”. Once this mentality is in hand, we ignore the role men play in childbirth. Most people don’t even hear about “boys”. This is a science for the male reproductive system, but not much is taught in medical schools. If medical students do not study these, how should they provide medical services in this area after the day? In this way, it seems strange that we started studying male contraception 50 years after the birth of the female contraceptive pill.
Another big problem is that drug research and development requires large sums of money for pharmaceutical companies. With that amount of money from state agencies or other non-profit organizations, researchers simply can’t do it. But pharmaceutical companies are not interested in this, thinking they can’t make money because men aren’t interested and women don’t trust men to take birth control pills. But for both, we have data that can be refuted.
For example, the Male Contraceptive Initiative, a non-profit organization that develops male birth control pills, conducted a survey in early 2019 to find out what men of childbearing age think about the pill, and most respondents were actually interested. As for the phrase “women don’t trust men to take drugs”, pharmaceutical companies don’t seem to pay attention to the difference between “gun friends” and “fixed partners”. One study showed that 98 per cent of women trusted their regular partner. A woman in love is to trust each other on a variety of high-risk matters. I hope these signs mean that things may change. But by then, they will say that “male birth control pills will be developed in 50 years”.
Assistant Professor of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine
For years, the challenge in the development of male contraceptives has been the perception that men are not interested or “untrustworthy”. But research and research show that the situation is different now. Men are willing to assume their responsibilities in family planning and are interested in the prospects for male birth control pills.
Another big challenge is the lack of funding for the pharmaceutical industry. Current research is carried out mainly by large research centres and government sponsorship.
Attention should also be paid to distinguishing between hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive methods. Hormone stools are essentially changes in the way men endoendocrine testosterone and sperm are produced, so the main deficiency lies in the side effects of changes in hormone levels, such as mood changes, acne, sexual dysfunction, and so on. It also raises the question of tolerance: how much of these side effects can men tolerate? What is the safe dose per dose taken? But the big question for this approach is whether it can reduce sperm counts down to a sufficiently low enough method of family planning. In short, the dose of the pill should not be too high, to prevent serious side effects, and not too low, so as not to effectively reduce sperm count.
The goal of non-hormonal means is either to de-energize the sperm or to prevent the release of the sperm. This method is currently mainly manifested in various types of sterilization surgery, the failure rate is very high, and reversibility is not comparable to the hormone means,
Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Lundqvist Research Institute, and Director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Department at the Hubble-UCLA Medical Center
People interested in family planning have been considering the development of male birth control pills for a long time. We are working on these issues with funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. The two federal agencies are supporting contraceptive-related research through the Contraceptive Clinical Trials Network Project. Dr. Christina Wang (Dr. Christina Wang is the project’s lead researcher.
The main thrust of the project is that family planning tasks should be shared between the two parties and that both men and women can contribute as they wish. We hope to be able to offer more options on the way we do it. There have been a series of studies that have looked at acceptance of male birth control pills, and many have been surprised to find that both men and women respond positively to it.
At present, we are studying various hormone drugs. These drugs can be taken in a form that is absorbed by the skin or taken by injection or oral, but both a combination of an androgen (such as testosterone) and a progesterone (also used in female oral contraceptives) is required. This combination is much more effective than simply controlling sperm counts.
We’ve tried a variety of combinations in various clinical trials, and it’s working well. We are currently conducting a large-scale study around the world, including in South America, Europe, Africa and the United States. We hope that these drugs will have a positive effect in protecting fertility, individual acceptance, and reversibility.
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science, University of California, San Francisco
There are already male contraceptives, such as condoms, in vitro ejaculation and vasectomy. The problem is that many men and women are not satisfied with these methods. If you still want to have a child later, you can’t have a vasectomy. Condoms or in vitro ejaculation may not be for you if you are pursuing a high contraceptive success rate. If you want a reversible and reliable method of contraception, you can only rely on female contraception at the moment.
So why have we not yet developed a reversible and reliable method of male contraception? In large part, our society has always seen contraception as a female task. Both pharmaceutical and medical infrastructure treats women as a parent of contraception in their relationships, including seeing a doctor for advice, paying for contraception, experiencing various side effects, and so on. This perception is reinforced by the trajectory of emotional relationships that conform to the social norm: when a relationship becomes serious, women begin to avoid pregnancy by taking birth control pills and other methods. Society has also “feminized” the responsibility for contraception on multiple levels, while asserting that we do not need reversible and effective male contraception.