Researchers are showing renewed interest in male birth control methods after scientific advances have shown promising results and surveys showing men are interested in a male contraceptive. Some methods of male birth control are already at the stage of testing on human volunteers and Steve Owens, of Seattle, has already tested a few methods, with mixed reactions; he liked some methods, but definitely didn’t like a gel that was rubbed on his shoulders and required that his wife and daughter not touch him for hours after application.
One method requires an injection into the bicep, leaving a visible bulge. Owens said that one, being visible, was the subject of discussion among friends and acquaintances. Women, he said, were thrilled and interested, but men had varying reactions. Some men thought Owens should be concerned about whether his sperm count would come back up after the study, but so far, his count has rebounded after each trial method. He and his wife even conceived their daughter between two of the study trials.
Sam Thomas, of Raleigh, N.C., says he would not be interested in a male birth control method. His concern is for putting “poisons in my body.” It should be noted that he feels the same about birth control for women, although he feels that decision is up to the individual woman. Thomas believes condoms are safest on many levels, from preventing conception to preventing disease.
The methods for male birth control being studied run the gamut, from hormonal drugs to ultrasonic heating of the testicles which stops sperm production for months. There are drugs that are not hormonally based that seem to stop sperm production or prevent sperm from maturing.
What do you think, men? Do the new advances sound promising, scary or just silly? Would you welcome the chance to take birth control out of the woman’s hands?