Latest Research on New Birth Control Methods

The majority of birth control methods tend to focus on the female body. The birth control pill, diaphragm, Depo-Provera

, and Norplant are just a few of the many contraceptives designed to be used by women. As much as women want to have the power to control their reproductive capabilities, they would also like some equality in the procedures. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there are increasing efforts being made to develop new forms of male birth control.

The Pill for Men
Holding the most promise for the future of male contraception is a birth control pill. Similar to the female birth control pill, the male birth control pill uses synthetic hormones to lower a man’s sperm count. Clinical trials have already been done in various countries showing that oral contraceptives for men are effective. With these promising results, many hope that the pill will be available to men soon. While the pills work to temporarily lower a man’s sperm count to zero, they do come with side effects similar to those experienced by women taking hormonal contraceptives.

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However, the Pill is not the only hormonal method being tested on men. Hormonal patches, gels, implants and injections are all being investigated for their ability to make men temporarily infertile. Again, many are showing promise (although not without side effects) and researchers hope to get the products out onto the market soon.

If you’re not a fan of needles, then you may not like the idea of a vaccination against pregnancy or sperm production. Yes, that’s right: vaccines are in the works to help prevent a pregnancy. For men, this immunocontraceptive works by hijacking sperm production through an immune system response to the hormone FSH, a hormone that is vital to the maturation of sperm. Men regain their fertility once the vaccine wears off. However, in clinical trials, the vaccine has only been to shown to be effective in two-thirds of men.

For women, a vaccine that would cause an immune system response to hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) was under development for many years. Also known as the pregnancy hormone, hCG is the hormone produced by a fertilized egg. The vaccine worked by producing an immune system response in a woman’s body when hCG was produced thereby causing a woman’s body to attack both the hCG and the embryo, thus preventing a pregnancy from occurring. However, not only was the vaccine rather controversial, it was also not very affective. As a result, it was never put on the market.

Other types of vaccines for women have been examined, including ones that attack sperm, but so far there have been no noteworthy results.

While it’s not exactly a new concept, yet another type of birth control pill is being marketed to women. Sold under the names Anya and Lybrel, this pill works in much the same way as other birth control pills. What distinguishes Anya from traditoinal 21-day horomone pills, though, is the fact that Anya is taken 365 days a year with no breaks. This means that women are given around the clock protection from pregnancy. It also means that a woman will no longer have a period while she is using this form of birth control. There is still some debate as to whether or not it is a good idea to suppress a woman’s period, but for now, this pill appears to be on its way to changing women’s lives.

Chat with others about the possibility of a male birth control pill and about other male birth control options in our birth control forum.

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