The rocky road that was the recent Male Birth Control study has resulted in its cancellation.
The reason? Side effects. Many women can understand the struggle with birth control side effects, including myself, but unlike this study many women soldier on either by finding alternatives to hormonal contraception and/or going through trial and error with different types and doses till they found success. Whether, women take birth control for the simple reason of not getting pregnant, alleviating symptoms of PMS, or regulating periods, the benefits of birth control for women can sometimes outweigh the side effects.
Many women heard the news of the study being abandoned and turned up their noses, I know I did, at the fact that many women… (estimated between 20% to 30%) experienced side effects of some kind.
But, maybe we should take pause. The side effects that were a concern for the subjects in the study were mood changes. Around 21% of participants had noticed changes in their mood and some said that they were experiencing thoughts of depression. The study did show promise. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that the injectable hormonal contraceptive was an effective and reliable form of contraception with a 96% success rate of preventing pregnancy.
Since the dawn of birth control, women had to either cope with the side effects, if we had them, experiment with various kinds, or move on to a non-hormonal contraception to reap the benefits of less severe PMS, preventing pregnancy, or another benefit. That is where the reasons for taking birth control between men and women show the stark difference.
While women have reason after reason for taking birth control, men only have the reason of being a proactive partner in preventing pregnancy. The incentive to take a hormonal birth control is going to be less appealing to men when they can pose side effects. Birth control gives women freedom by being an easy way to take responsibility in preventing an unplanned pregnancy. Men don’t have to share the burden of an unplanned pregnancy and the decisions that need be made if they don’t want to.
Is there a silver lining in all this is? While the study was canceled, a majority of the men that participated (around 82%) said that they would use this method of birth control if available.