Options for female birth control are plenty: women can choose from the pill, an IUD, the patch, a ring, the shot…the list goes on.
But, where’s the vast selection of birth control for men?
Doctors have been working on a male contraceptive for decades, especially since research shows men aren’t extremely receptive toward current male birth control, like condoms and vasectomies. And a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE shows this contraceptive could be coming sooner rather than later.
The male birth control pill has a compound called EP055, which binds to sperm proteins and significantly slows them down, meaning they no longer have a chance at fertilizing an egg. And while the hormones in the female birth control pill have been known to cause negative side effects, EP055 does not affect hormones at all—making it a “male pill” with zero side effects.
The researchers in this study injected male macaques monkeys with different doses of EP055 and watched the sperm count drop. But the best part? It’s not permanent.
"At 18 days post-infusion, all macaques showed signs of complete recovery, suggesting that the EP055 compound is indeed reversible," said study co-investigator Mary Zelinski, Ph.D., research associate professor at the ONPRC at OHSU and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine in a statement.
While the “male pill” is certainly the most promising male birth control in the horizon, other options, like a daily gel and nonsurgical vasectomy, are also being studied.
According to Vox, the gel is more than a decade in the making and is the furthest along in clinical trials. Nestrone-Testosterone contains testosterone and progestin, which works to suppress sperm levels to 1 million per milliliter or less, which is the amount needed to prevent pregnancy.
The nonsurgical vasectomy, known as reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance, or RISUG, according to Bloomberg, depends on a gel that a doctor injects into the sperm-carrying tubes in the scrotum to block sperm. The gel can later be broken down with a second shot, making the procedure reversible.
A survey showed that about 83 percent of men and women believe birth control is the responsibility of both partners. And soon enough, in one form or another, it will be.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. June is Men’s Health Education and Awareness Month.