Male birth control is considered a controversial issue for lots of reasons. A few years ago large pharmaceutical companies like Schering, Organon or Wyeth announced the production of hormonal birth control designed especially for men, but the results of their research hasn’t been finalized yet. 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.
Statistics show a certain willingness on the part of men to use alternative 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 is hormonal birth control supposed to 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. The solution seems to come from a monthly shot, or the combination of the ingredients in a topical products such as a cream. Biannual implants could also be a solution, but the procedure required is considered too invasive.
Between 10% and 15% of men have a low reaction to hormonal male birth control, which is quite a high rate of non-response. Too many cells have to be blocked which certainly raises an issue. 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.
Condoms definitely make the most viable form of male birth control. Couples successfully use condoms, and so do people who have occasional sex. It is the only birth control method without a direct impact on health.