Male Birth Control vs Female Birth Control
Male Birth Control vs Female Birth Control
Other than using tried and tested barrier methods – i.e. – the male condom – men have had it exceptionally easy in terms of their role and responsibility in birth control. That is until recently of course; science seems to be slowly edging towards the idea of a male contraceptive shot.
A recent clinical trial of an injectable hormone contraceptive for men showed super promising results: It was 96 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, which it did by lowering sperm counts. Unfortunately, the trial was discontinued early by an independent committee, which determined that the side effects were such that “the risks to the study participants outweighed the potential benefits.” The side effects in question? “Mood changes, depression, pain at the injection site, and increased libido.”
We discuss this from of contraceptive, and what alternatives there are for women to make use of if they too are tired of barrier methods and hormonal birth control.
Unfortunately, there’s a basic physiological difference, and that is that it’s easy to fool the ovaries with a very low dose of hormones to make the ovaries think a woman is pregnant, and so the ovaries will stop ovulation. However, there’s no similar situation for male sperm production; there’s no normal state where sperm production stops.
Using hormones to prevent sperm creation requires really high doses that cause side effects. Since women’s birth control already has side-effect problems and men are fertile for much longer than women are, this wouldn’t be an improvement on current offerings. Plus, men could still impregnate someone for three months after halting new sperm production as that’s how long it takes for existing sperm to get cleared out.
Experts are hopeful about drugs being developed to target sperm’s ability to swim, but they still have to be reversible. Researchers are working on it, but it’s not an easy feat and getting to the human-trials stage takes time.
So, in short, male contraception is still going to be based on the trusty old male condom for the time being.
Some enjoyable side reading awaits:
Women have relied on hormonal forms of birth control since they were introduced many years ago; however, the myriad side effects caused by these hormones has driven most women far, far away from it being their preferred method of contraception.
Using an IUD or IUB may be the best answer for the majority of young women, but there is not as much information readily available for non-hormonal options are there are for hormonal contraceptives.
Some benefits of ditching hormones to prevent pregnancy are part and parcel of the IUD and IUB system:
1) IUDs and IUB's are VERY effective.
IUDs give you great, long-term protection against pregnancy — they’re more than 99% effective. They work as well as sterilization and the birth control implant. IUDs are one of the most effective methods you can get because there’s almost no way you can mess it up. You can’t forget to use it (like the pill or ring), or use it incorrectly (like condoms). IUDs are “set-it-and-forget-it” birth control.
2) IUDs and IUB's are REALLY convenient.
Once your IUD is in, you barely have to think about it — it works until it expires or you have it taken out. That means no trips to the pharmacy, no pill to take or ring to put in, and nothing you have to do before sex to prevent pregnancy. Plus you’re protected against pregnancy for 3 to 12 years, depending on what kind you get.
3) You can get pregnant after taking out an IUD.
IUDs are reversible. If you decide you want to get pregnant, you can get it removed at any time. IUDs won’t affect your fertility or make it harder to get pregnant in the future. In fact, it’s possible to get pregnant as soon as your IUD is out.
4) IUDs can make your periods better.
Hormonal IUDs can cut down on cramps and make your period way lighter. Some people totally stop getting periods at all. Hormonal IUDs can help treat people who suffer from severe cramps, really heavy periods, and anaemia.
5) The copper IUD and IUB doesn’t have hormones.
Some people prefer non-hormonal birth control, or can’t use methods with hormones because of medical problems. IUD’s are super effective at preventing pregnancy AND totally hormone free.
6) The copper IUD can be used as emergency contraception.
Typically, if you get one within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected sex, it’s over 99% effective against pregnancy.