World’s First Birth Control For Men, An Injection To The Groin, Coming Soon
A significant advance in both science and gender equality has been made by The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The ICMR announced in November 2019 that they have successfully completed clinical trials on the globe’s first-ever male contraceptive. Pending approval from the Drug Controller General of India, the medication is expected to be available to the public soon. Up until this drug’s development, men only had access to a surgical vasectomy and condoms as a means of birth control. (1)
How Does It Work?
Made from a polymer, India’s new male birth control has to be procedurally injected under local anesthesia by a doctor. The medication works to block the pathway of the sperm between the testicles and the penis (vas deferens). “The polymer was developed by Prof SK Guha from the Indian Institute of Technology in the 1970s. ICMR has been researching on it to turn it into a product for mass use since 1984, and the final product is ready after exhaustive trials,” said a senior scientist with ICMR. Before being tested on human participants, Indian researchers had trialed the drug on mice and obtained good initial results.
Indian officials claim in phase three human trials, after testing the birth control on 303 men, that the product has no side effects and a 97.3% success rate. If true, this product could be groundbreaking, not only in India but worldwide. In the past, America and the U.K. have tested similar products with no concrete outcomes. In fact, the UK ceased a trial with male contraception due to extreme side effects, like acne and mood changes. (1)
More Choice For Women
Undeniably, women have a lot more selection and choices when it comes to contraception. Women can take the pill (oral contraceptives), receive a contraceptive injection (usually every three months), have an intrauterine device (IUD) or coil inserted, or in an emergency situation, take the ‘morning after pill’. Women may also opt for more permanent birth control options termed tubal ligation, which surgically blocks the fallopian tubes and prevents the release of eggs.
The newly proposed male contraceptive most closely resembles the female IUD. Like the injectable male contraceptive, an IUD is inserted by a trained healthcare professional and lasts several years. An IUD is considered the most effective form of contraception, but may also be used to lessen the severity of a women’s period or period-related symptoms. (2)
The Future Of Contraception
In 2019, there is widespread acceptance that contraception is the responsibility of both sexual partners to prevent unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There are no signs with new technology or medication that this outlook, driven by gender equality, should change. Everyone in a sexual relationship is responsible for safe sex.
In the past, women were expected to be the primary keepers of birth control, but now both sexes should carry condoms and water-based lubricant (prevents the condom from breaking). Condoms are important, as no form of oral or surgical contraception currently on the market can prevent STIs. Ultimately, men do not need to wait for a new medication to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs today. (3)
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