- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Male Birth Control Shot For Men
Birth Control for Men
After more than 20 years of trial and error and millions of dollars spent researching male contraception, California endocrinologist Dr. Kent Holtorf has discovered a male birth control shot that can do away with her (and your) “I forgot to take my pill” dread.
Holtorf’s find came six years ago by accident when, while treating men for low levels of testosterone, he realized that a weekly shot of the hormone wasn’t just reinvigorating his patients; it was also tricking their pituitary glands into halting sperm production. The possibility of birth control for men "reared its ugly head".
Holtorf began administering the treatment to healthy men and found the shot to be 99 percent effective. But there still seem to be a number of downsides:
- Only a handful of doctors are prodding testosterone shots as a form of birth control for men;
- the male birth control shots are new, so we won’t know long-term health effects for at least 10 years;
- they’re pricey ($150 per shot) and not covered by insurance;
- you need to visit the doctor’s office twice a month to be injected, since over-the-counter treatments remain many years off.
Still, there are huge benefits to male birth control. "Fertility returns within two months," says Holtorf. And, unlike the pill, which increases the risk of heart disease in women, testosterone treatments in men actually lower the risk of both heart disease and prostate cancer.
Prof. Richard Anderson, from the University of Edinburgh, head of another two year long research into the field of male contraception said, "When we carried out surveys of women, they were enormously enthusiastic. They wanted to share the responsibility for contraception."
How the male birth control shot works
The male birth control shot contains the male sex hormone testosterone, and a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progesterone. Men are injected with the shot by general physician once every two weeks.
The birth control shot for men works by stimulating the brain into decreasing the levels of the production of certain other hormones, which in turn prevents sperm production and maturation.
The obvious advantage of male birth control over female birth control is that its risks seem to be very limited. Once the shots are discontinued the sperm count returns to normal, also allowing for providing a timed contraceptive option.
The tests for the male birth control shot have seen very positive results in almost 100% of the cases. The only adverse effects were hot flushes, mood swings, and acne in some men.
Birth control for men is effective in committed relationships
Birth control for men provides a wonderful alternative for couples where female methods have proved ineffective, and couples that want to avoid such permanent procedures as a vasectomy.
On the other hand, because the male birth control shot is unable to protect against sexually-transmitted diseases, birth control for men is best suited to couples in a committed long-term relationship.
Dr. Anderson says, "Women don't want to control contraception because they could be left holding the baby. In a strong relationship, you share everything with your partner, and birth control should be part of it".
The biggest obstacle to the acceptability of the male birth control shot at the moment seems to be the very fact that men tend to think they are in some way reduced by the shot. It might take a lot of education to get this out of their head.