Male birth control is considered a controversial issue for lots of reasons. Schering, Wyeth, Organon and other large pharmaceutical companies used to be actively involved in the development of male birth control, but their efforts have been put on hold indefinitely. Why? Because the investments are huge and the market is not that receptive to male birth control pills. Several programs have been abandoned for this reason, and it seems that drug companies don’t show any renewal in their interest for this kind of birth control products.
Some men are willing to try other forms of birth control. Normally, male birth control should consist of some form of testosterone shot or pill that would impair the production of sperm. Women, however, have shown reluctance towards entrusting men with birth control treatments. At present, vasectomy is the only viable male birth control solution besides the condom. How would hormonal birth control work for men?
The male birth control solution has to combine testosterone with progestin so as to suppress the production of sperm but with process reversibility. The testosterone pill doesn’t work because the hormone is too rapidly metabolized by the liver. Hormonal male birth control may be produced either as a monthly shot or as a topical product. One third option is that of twice-a-year implants and although the procedures are invasive, they could be an alternative to women’s pill.
Between 10% and 15% of men do not respond to hormonal male birth control, which is quite a high rate of non-response. The issue is in the number of cells that need to be blocked. While with female hormonal treatments, there is just one egg to prevent from fertilizing, with male birth control, the treatment has to solve the issue of millions of spermatozoon. Race also seems to affect the efficiency of this birth control method although researchers don’t know why.
Last but not least, we should also briefly refer to condoms as the most commonly used form of male birth control. This is preferable for many couples around the world, as well as for people who change their sex partner often. It is the only birth control method that is non-invasive and protects against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.