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Aug 19 2012

Male birth control pill Or fairy tale pill?


Coming soon!
Coming closer!
Coming coming coming but..!
Male contraceptive pill was coming since I was a child but it has not come yet. I will soon be 50 and I am not sure whether I will be able to see it in my lifetime. Scientists started research on male contraceptive pill in the 70′s. They focused on the use of hormones to control sperm production. Trial showed bad side effects. The whole project was cancelled. We heard that male birth control implant would come soon. Nothing ultimately came. In the late 80′s, some researchers were excited about a new discovery but they soon gave up because the world was not ready for it. It was difficult to get funding for research on male contraceptives. Only universities and non profit organizations continued their research on male pills.

In 1995, researchers isolated compounds from a plant called Tripterygium wilfordiiused, a Chinese herbal medicine. Plant based pill produced from gandarusa plant in Indonesia was non-hormonal but nobody liked it. Researchers fed extracts from the seeds of papaya fruit to monkeys and found they had no sperm. In 2002, tests were done on male rats using oleanolic acid, extracted from Eugenia jambolana, an African tree.The tests showed that the chemical was found to reversibly lower the rats’ sperm motility without affecting the sperm count.

Inhibition of chromatin remodeling by binding to a pocket on BRDT (Bromodomain testis-specific protein) has been shown to produce reversible sterility in male mice. Nifedipine, one of the Calcium channel blocker drugs, causes reversible infertility by changing the lipid metabolism of sperm. We do not know whether researchers stop doing research on nifedipine.

A compound that strikes against vitamin A pathway makes male mice sterile without affecting sexual drive. The drugs like Adjudin, Gamendazole etc. show reversible infertility in rats! Depo-Provera prevents spermatogenesis. Monthly injection ‘testosterone undecanoate’ has been doing fine, but they are not yet for the marketing. Phenoxybenzamine Silodosin,Trestolone are for blocking ejaculation and reducing sperm count. Trial results are good, but the drugs have never been ready for the market. UK’s ‘dry orgasm’ pill that made orgasm occur but not ejaculation, was also gone with the wind. There was a method to inhibit sperm production by heating testicles. Who knows what happened to the research on heat based contraception. Industries are interested in male everything but not in male contraceptives. They don’t see potential demands or dollars. In 2003, new research focused on non-hormonal pill but no non-hormonal pill is available yet.

RISUG or ‘Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance’ should be popular but people are not interested in it. Dr. Régine L. Sitruk-Ware, reproductive endocrinologist said, “Market research has shown little interest from males, so companies have continued to [bow] out,” But the market research had showed almost no interest in NuvaRing, a combined hormonal contraceptive vaginal ring. But NuvaRing was on the market and sold well.

Scientists have now found JQ1, a molecule that blocks a protein essential for sperm production in mice and rats without changing their libido. It is not toxic for the animals. It has no effect on testosterone or sexual behavior. It does not appear to affect the first generation of offspring after the contraceptive is reversed. As the reproductive system of mice and men are similar, men can have this drug.

Researchers published their study and said, “We envision that our discoveries can be completely translated to men, providing a novel and efficacious strategy for a male contraceptive.”

These are nothing new to us. We get the same old promises every now and then. Male pill always comes closer. But it never really comes. The new pill will face the challenge of male contraception efficacy trials involving hundreds of couples over ‘several years’ in order to assess its true so called effectiveness. Several years would be several decades as usual. Then after several decades some other male contraceptive pill’s coming soon advert will be a Page One news all over the world but the male dominated world and the money oriented minds will never get ready for it.

Women will continue to be treated as guinea pigs.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    Jockaira

    Taslima, you’ve done a real service by rounding up these various contraceptive methods and publishing them.

    In the USA, at least, drug trials for anyone of these 15 methods would cost millions of dollars (financed by the drug companies) with no guarantee of final approval. Until there is a projected market the profit from which would pay the costs of trials, there will be no trials, and no male contraceptives available.

    Why, when there is an obvious social need?

    The answer is simple: Men do not carry a child within their bodies for nine months, and except for married men, share no financial burden for the gestation or the intimidating costs of raising a child. Since it is men who make most of the laws and social policies regarding children, it is not likely that they would want to assume their logical responsibilities.

    In the vast majority of cases, DNA testing would show the actual father of a child, and would then make that man responsible for the costs of its upbringing as well as the burden taken by the mother. This principle of paternal responsibility is one of the foundations of most human societies, but is hard to enforce because (in many cases) doubt about paternity. Compulsory DNA testing would seem to be the answer (even as a criminal matter) in any case where paternity is in doubt.

    When men KNOW that there will certainly be a cost for unprotected intercourse, then there will be a wide and profitable market for these contraceptives.

    1. 1.1
      Al

      Men, even unmarried ones, pay child support. How is that not sharing in the financial burden of raising a child? Doesn’t this also kind of through a wrench in your later argument since laws regarding child support were mostly passed by men? I don’t understand your thinking here.

      1. lex

        Are you crazy? They were written by politicians who happen to be men! Frigging idiots like you with your “logic” is the reason why there is no fairness in family courts.

        1. Emma001

          By lack of fairness do you mean women win the vast majority of the time there?

  2. 2
    S Mukherjee

    Considering how certain male assholes are always blathering on about how women ‘sperm-jack’ or ‘oops’ their husbands, I would have assumed they would be at the forefront of those demanding a safe, reliable male contraceptive.

  3. 3
    Makoto

    Honestly, these sorts of studies (again) make me wish I’d asked for a left side vasectomy when I had my right side orchiectomy for cancer. I don’t think my DNA, already given to cancer, is worth risking passing on. I was just too worried at the time and didn’t think things through, unfortunately. I’ll take care of that next time I have insurance.

    One big problem (other than that men don’t carry babies to term, of course) is that some men see their sperm as a measure of their manliness – if you offer them a pill to decrease their sperm, they sometimes feel emasculated, and so the demand isn’t there, even though other men would see it as a fantastic advance in medicine.

    1. 3.1
      Paul Johnson

      I doubt [men seeing sperm as a measure of their manliness] is the case. Women love to come to the defense of men’s ‘fragile ego’ because it affords them to pretend to know, and to declare, what the needs of men are.

      Men’s egos are not that fragile — that is a feminine misconception. But it’s not really a misconception, but a devious tool used to pit her needs against his.

      More here.

  4. 4
    medred

    Women will continue to be treated like guinea pigs

    For an apparently award winning writer you should pulled that line out of no where

    1. 4.1
      Lamia

      No, not out of nowhere. The various methods we have used for female contraception have always come with serious side effects, life threatening complications, and some have been recalled or discontinued. Regulating the female reproductive system is infinitely more complex and difficult than regulating the male reproductive system, yet we continue to experiment on the female system and tiptoe around male contraception for the sake of preserving the male ego that is so intimately tied up in the ability to ejaculate sperm-laden semen from an erect penis. Yes, women have been the guinea pigs, and what’s worse, is that it has been done by men, for the sake of not hurting men’s feelings. And of course, the paternity issue (why would a man want contraception if he doesn’t have to pay for the “crime” and cannot be proven guilty of the “crime”, “crime” being pregnancy). However, I wonder if DNA paternity testing will make male contraception a reality because we still have to deal with the male ego.

    2. 4.2
      HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

      Maybe you should perhaps look into the tests that were done on women in Puerto Rico when they were developing the Pill. Or the tests of sterilization methods, temporary and otherwise, performed on female prisoners from the turn of the 20th century onwards. Or, say, “Mississippi appendectomies”. Or the Dalkon Shield. Or Dr. Marion Sims.

      Spend some time googling some of those, and come back when you have a fucking clue.

    3. 4.3
      KarenX

      The thing also is that if the pill for men fails, it’ll still be women who get pregnant, with all its attendant complications (political and biological). You can’t test the effectiveness of a male birth control pill without dragging women into it. Women are still guinea pigs.

  5. 5
    Jeremy

    Taslima, there is a new technique that will shortly be available that has no need of a pill. It’s an injection that coats the vas deferens with a polymer gel that prevents ejaculated sperm from being viable by shredding their protein covering as they pass through. It’s already being used in India and should pass trials in time to be used in the US by 2015. It’s a reversible procedure and supposedly lasts for 10 years. I think it has the potential to be a major paradigm shift in birth control and will be one of the first in line to get it when it arrives. http://www.newmalecontraception.org/new-methods-3/risugvasalgel/

  6. 6
    MaudeLL

    The crazy-making part is that men’s rights people often ramble about a big feminist plot *against* the male pill so that women can keep controlling men by secretly stealing their sperm and force them to pay child support afterwards. Seriously, feminists are begging for the male pill, please! And most men I know would want it too. Not sure about their market research…

  7. 7
    Gopal

    It’s all about protecting precious bodily fluids, apparently. Well damn my bodily fluids all to the underworld of your choice, I’m more than willing to take it. My girl friend has had terrible side effects from birth control she’s used, and although we use condoms, we would love another method that would not be a cost to her. A male contraceptive pill would be wonderful for us.

  8. 8
    jamesskaar

    except for an easily ripped condom, or potentially life threatening vasectomy, that may also randomly come undone, or not ever have been done correctly, we men have very little rights when it comes to birth control. for the vast majority of women, if they don’t want kids, yet they had an accident, abortion is always an option. there’s supposedly an injection, into the vas deferens, relatively painless, kills sperm that pass it, lasts years, totally reversible, safe, but that’s not legal here either.
    till then, a man that doesn’t want to have kids, his only choice if one of those other methods fail, and the methods the woman he’s with also fails, is to take care of it, or skip out. wouldn’t one more safe method for men be good for everyone?
    i’m with makoto in one regard, until i figure out how to deal with my familys shit heredity, i use the method that works best, it’s not too fun, even though it works. risk of passing on these genes isn’t worth it, specially since i found out MD runs in my fathers side.
    the experience of the male responders puts jockaira’s assertion that the reason men don’t want it, is that we’re not the ones that risk carrying the baby and enduring the financial risk into the the ‘makes very little sense’ column. even though she’s right that easy identification of the fathers would increase the demand for it, demand is already quite large, i’m betting most of the scientists that are working on it are men. the men that’d think running is a good idea, probably the type that’d benefit highly from it, they could sleep around all they wanted, safeishly. i think, making the mother pay for the test, if it comes back negative, would be a good buffer, so men would be less unwilling to get tested, and there would be less risk of unfounded accusation.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Pen

    Could there be reasons why completely secure male contraception is harder to achieve? A female contraceptive only has to prevent one possible conception per month, a male contraceptive has to prevent hundreds of thousands of potential ones per sexual act. The male contraceptives that ‘break’ all sperm, leaving other functions unchanged seem like a good way to go, but would you really trust them to break every single one of millions of sperm per month?

    Also, a female contraceptive has to intervene on physiology that isn’t relevant to sex itself (except where a woman’s libido is affected by the pill, as mine is), and that is fairly invisible, even to women, but a male contraceptive has to intervene in areas that are relevant.

    It’s a shame that we don’t have the last word on effective side-effect free contraception for both sexes yet. I’m sure it’s partly because we have something that seems to more or less work. Contraception is very much rife with superstition, such as the artificial period built in to contraceptive pill regimes to help women ‘feel more feminine’ or something ridiculous like that. WTF is that all about??? Personally, I would have thought it worth taking the contraception myself just to skip the periods(were it not for the libido issues).

    1. 10.1
      Lamia

      Preventing the ovulation of one egg versus development of millions of sperm. I can kind of understand that logic, however, the physiologic processes that lead to the development and ovulation of one egg and preparation of the uterus for implantation are a complex orchestra of hormone levels and other factors that are much more difficult to regulate than the assembly line that is sperm production. In reality, from a physicians point of view, inhibiting sperm production, entry into semen, and motility is far easier.

      As far as intervening on physiology relevant to sex, if the inhibition of sperm production is not dependent on inhibition of testosterone, male libido and function will not be affected. In fact, he will still have libido, erection, ejaculation, and semen, just semen lacking in functional sperm.

      Finally, the reason OCP incorporate a week of placebo pills to mimic menstruation had nothing to do with women needing to feel feminine. In the US, the doctor who brought OCP into the public eye was a devout Catholic, and could not reconcile OCP with the Church, so he included the placebo week to make it more acceptable to his Church. Look up “John Rock’s Error”.

    2. 10.2
      Phillip Helbig

      “Could there be reasons why completely secure male contraception is harder to achieve? A female contraceptive only has to prevent one possible conception per month, a male contraceptive has to prevent hundreds of thousands of potential ones per sexual act.”

      Hundreds of millions. Big difference. And the immune system has to deal with these which is normally not the case. Certainly one of the reasons.

      However, I think the main reason is a biological fact which won’t change which prevents the acceptance of such a pill by women: men don’t get pregnant—women do. Most couples in a long-term relationship don’t use the pill for contraception, but rather the IUD, (male and/or female) sterilization etc. Main reason: side effects are less. The pill is used mainly by younger women before they have children, often before settling down in a long-term monogamous relationship. So, casual sex like happens many times all over the world. The man says “Don’t worry about getting pregnant; I’m on the pill!” How many women would be willing to believe him, especially if it is a one-night stand?

  11. 11
    ik

    … Feel more femenine?

    Obviously I have no experience with menstruation, but I can imagine it would weird me out if, say, a drug I was taking made me only use the bathroom a quarter as much as normal. Even though that would be convenient…

  12. 12
    nazani14

    Surely, one of the problem with a male birth-control pill, is that people, including a lot of men, already lie about being sterile. “I’m on the pill” could become the new “I had the mumps, and they went down on me.”

  13. 13
    Nathalie Clarkson

    The (sad) reality: a contraceptive pill is for women to take. We just have to deal with it.

  14. 14
    JohnMarsh

    Every other man I know is interested in a male contraceptive pill, we’re just cynical about any health risks. It’s apparent from these comments that the subject is a sore spot for women, for obvious reasons. Feminists are self-serving and view male-rights as sort of infringement against women. If a man is able to choose when and with whom he wants to have kids, then it equalises decision-making, and true equality is anathema to modern feminists.

    I suggest any women who take issue with this watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JymN5yu-K_o

    It’s an example of a vile feminist group protest against a doctor speaking about male contraception. Before long feminists will resort to lobbying governments to ban these drugs, just as they have successfully lobbied to bias the divorce courts, employment courts and even schoolrooms towards women and girls.

  1. 15
    Reproductive Rights, Men and Feminism - Page 12

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