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The Male Birth Control Shot: The Future of Birth Control Options

written by: DaniellaNicole • edited by: DaniellaNicole • updated: 3/3/2010

Touted as a ‘shot in the arm’ for birth control options, a male birth control shot may be in the future of birth control methods. Research indicates a high success rate in the Chinese men who were part of the study. What does this mean for other men and what are the risks involved?

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    Male Birth Control Shot Research

    A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism of more than 1,000 Chinese men indicated positive results for male birth control shots. This study used high amounts of testosterone to temporarily lower or stop sperm production. The study lasted for over two years and had a 95% effectiveness result. The injection was made up of testosterone undecanoate (TU) and tea seed oil and was given monthly.

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    The Male Birth Control Shot Controversy

    Concerns raised about high levels of testosterone used for birth control include permanent sterilization, the practicality of use in teen males – the highest pregnancy risk group, the three month wait before the injection begins to work and possible testicular scarring, similar to what happens in the abuse of steroids.

    Additionally, the study was conducted only on Asian men. No research was performed on men of other ethnicities or in other areas of the world. Such testing would give more accurate results overall for the potential of a male birth control shot.

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    Will Men Really Use a Male Birth Control Shot?

    Article interviews and comments indicate mixed feelings across the board in regards to whether men will actually use a male birth control shot once it becomes available. For some, the large quantity of birth control methods available for women negates any need for male birth control. Others see it as a welcome relief, wanting to share in the responsibility or not risk being ‘trapped’ with an unwanted pregnancy.

    One largely broached complaint was the need for the injection to be given monthly. Dr Nabil El Sanadi of Broward General echoed this sentiment in a statement he gave in an NBC News article, “A male going once a month for an injection, it seems like something that not attractive to do.” One internet article noted a survey of 100 male college students who all claimed they would not consider any form of male birth control methods. Since males between the ages of 15 to 19 are in the highest unwanted pregnancy risk group, this commentary is worth notice in the quest for male birth control options.

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    Sources:

    ABC News – Health. One Step Closer to Birth Control Shot for Men. Lauren Cox. May 5, 2009. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Sex/story?id=7500906&page=1

    NBC News - Connecticut. Tisha Lewis. May 7, 2009. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/weird/Giving-Male-Birth-Control-a-Shot.html

    Contraception Blog. Dawn Stacey, M.Ed, LMHC. April 15, 2008. http://contraception.about.com/b/2008/04/15/male-contraceptive-injections-in-the-near-future-but-will-men-use-them.htm