Birth control has historically fallen into the laps of women. We have the most to lose if we become pregnant during times we do not want to be. However, men share just as much a responsibility in preventing pregnancy so the search for a male birth control method has been studied in recent years.
A phase II clinical trial of 320 participants tested a two-hormone injection designed to lower their sperm count. The men received injections of 200-mg norethisterone enanthate (progestin) combined with 1000-mg testosterone undecanoate, administered every eight weeks.
“The first study participant was enrolled on September 4, 2008, and the last participant completed the study on May 30, 2012,” according to the study writeup. The study was sponsored by CONRAD and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The study showed that the injections were about 96-percent effective at preventing pregnancy in the 274 men who achieved adequate sperm suppression after 24 weeks of injections.
The cumulative reversibility of sperm suppression after 52 weeks of recovery was 94.8 percent.
There were only four pregnancies in the group of 266 male participants receiving injections who remained in the study.
Some men dropped out of the study due to side effects of increased acne, injection site pain, increased libido and mood disorders.
NPR reported, “Some men also developed mood swings and in some cases those mood swings got pretty bad. One man developed severe depression, and another tried to commit suicide. Because of that, they cut the study short.”
How is that men are not expected to put up with side effects while women have put up with them with for years in order to have an effective birth control method?
1) Male Birth Control Study Killed After Men Report Side Effects. NPR. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
2) The Different Stakes of Male and Female Birth Control. Atlantic.com. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
3) Behre, Hermann M. et al. Efficacy and Safety of an Injectable Combination Hormonal Contraceptive for Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 101: 0000–0000, 2016. Received May 18, 2016. Accepted August 29, 2016. doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-2141.
4) Male Hormonal Contraceptive Effective in Preventing Pregnancy. Conrad.org. Retrieved November 6, 2016.