For decades, women have been the ones taking birth control to prevent pregnancy, but that might be changing soon.
Male birth control has been an idea that has crossed scientists' minds for years, but it has never been implemented until now, and studies show the male birth control pill has been proven to be safe and effective.
The results of the male birth control pill were presented on March 18 at the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago. Researchers found the pill, called dimethandrolone undecanoate or DMAU, prevented pregnancy in women by reducing testosterone and other hormones that are responsible for producing sperm. This is effective and safe, according to Dr. Stephanie Page, an endocrinologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
"Our goal — and everyone's goal in this field — is to develop a method for men that has minimal side effects, and the holy grail would be to develop something that also has a health benefit for men," Page said in an article on Healthline.com.
The male birth control pill will be a great addition to pregnancy prevention because the pressure will not continue to only be on women, although it may take a while for the male birth control pill to become typical.
The only options men have for pregnancy prevention are condoms, coitus interruptus — otherwise known as the withdraw or pull out method — and vasectomies.
“Scientists have been working on a male contraceptive for decades,” Monica Laronda, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who was not involved in the research, said in an article in Science News. “DMAU shows great promise.”
Surveys show many men are interested in forms of contraception besides condoms and vasectomies, she said, and men “would prefer a pill.” Other methods, including topical gels, are also being developed.
One of the issues pertaining to male birth control was decreased sex drive. However, this is also an issue that many women have been battling for years because of the use of the birth control pill, so it should not be something that stops the production of the male birth control pill. Instead, researchers should find ways to fix decreased libido in both male and female birth control pills.
Decreased libido is not the only issue women face while taking birth control pills. Weight gain, water retention, nausea, dizziness and headaches are all side effects. It was not until 1970 when the FDA decided to put these potential side effects on each pack of pills.
Male birth control pills will be a great way to put the pressure off women to prevent pregnancy. Although women are the ones that become pregnant and carry the baby, it takes both a man and woman to make a baby, so women should not be only ones to bare the burden of preventing pregnancy.
Researchers will soon begin a three-month clinical study to test the pill and how it affects men. If the results are positive, the pill will then be tested by couples as contraception to test the pregnancy prevention rate.