A study found that men can be trusted to take their equivalent of birth control pills.
The main obstacle in developing the daily contraceptive method for men was a nagging fear among many women that they would forget to take it.
But a pioneering British study has now shown that the majority of male participants use the contraceptive gel for an entire year.
After at least 12 months, the experiment found that nearly 90 percent of men recalled successfully rubbing gel on their shoulder every day, to suppress their testosterone until they produced little or no sperm.
None of the male partners who registered themselves became pregnant, indicating that the contraceptives are working well – although the full published results are still around two years away.
Men can finally be trusted to take their equivalent of the pill, scientists say. The main obstacle in developing a daily male contraceptive method was a woman’s fear that her partners would forget to take it. (File photo)
And the men who came out of the jelly after completing the experiment saw that their sperm count had returned to normal.
Professor Richard Anderson, who is leading the trial from the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Reproductive Health Center, has revealed preliminary results from 35 men who have been enrolled since July 2019.
Ultimately, 450 men will hopefully enroll, also from countries including the United States, Italy, Chile, Sweden and Kenya.
Professor Anderson said: “ This is the first British study to test a do-it-yourself male contraceptive, rather than injecting men or administering the gel in the laboratory.
You will always find people who think men cannot be trusted to take contraception every day.
But these results show that men can be relied upon, and this is important because many couples want the opportunity to have more options for contraception.
“It’s just not fair that the hard work of having to take the pill every day, for many years and decades, falls on women only, and that they have to cope with mood swings, side effects and pills alternation on their own.”
However, some experts remain unsure of the reliability of men, with Charles Kingsland, consultant gynecologist and clinical director at CARE Fertility, said: “ If I were a woman, I wouldn’t necessarily trust a man to take his own contraception.
“If I were a woman, I wouldn’t necessarily trust a man to take his contraceptive,” said consultant gynecologist Charles Kingsland of Care Fertility. (File photo)
If he said he used his gel, I would be suspicious.
This is a known concern when it comes to birth control for men.
Part of the reason women constantly take contraception is because if they get pregnant, they will have to give birth.
There is an argument that males are less reliable because society expects women to behave more responsibly than men.
James Owers mentioned that mentioning the use of male contraception is not difficult.
Keep the contraceptive gel dispenser next to the toothpaste and apply it as part of his morning routine.
The 31-year-old, who used contraception for 16 months as part of a British trial led by the University of Edinburgh, says he will not hesitate to take it full-time.
The only changes he noticed were an increase in sex drive, some excessive sweating and light acne on his back and three pounds of weight, which he quickly lost while using the gel.
Since he stopped using contraceptives, his 29-year-old partner, Diana, has had to return to taking the pill and has suffered side effects as a result.
Owers, a data scientist who lives in Edinburgh, said: “ People often talk about men not being responsible enough to take contraceptives, but using a gel is very easy.
I would take a shower in the morning and then put the gel on my shoulder, which took about 15 seconds.
“It took just as much effort as remembering to brush my teeth.”
The couple has long debated injustice to men who have no option for long-term contraception other than a vasectomy or condom.
So, after four years together, when he had the opportunity to use contraception, Mr. Owers said, “ I had to put my money in place of my mouth.
“I have always thought it was unfair for a woman to bear the burden of not having an” accident “and getting pregnant, just because there were no other options.
The data scientist used the gel from April 2019 to August 20, with monthly sperm checks and blood tests.
His sperm count, which had fallen to zero, was back to normal within six weeks of stopping contraception.
He said, “ If the side effects were too great or were harmful to our relationship, I would have stopped using the gel.
But the worst thing about it is having to log your intake every day, which you won’t have to do when male contraception becomes widely available.
“If it happened before we were ready to have children, we might take turns using contraception, so we share the responsibility.”
Not only that but men have more testosterone, which may encourage them to take more risks – including unwanted pregnancy.
The trial of male contraceptive use in the United Kingdom is taking place in Edinburgh and St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester.
She recruited men between the ages of 18 and 50, who had a stable relationship with women of childbearing age, between the ages of 18 and 34.
Couples discontinue all other methods of contraception, relying only on the gel.
Contraceptives contain a combination of synthetic testosterone and progestin – a synthetic hormone used in birth control pills – to stop the natural testosterone hormone in men and prevent them from forming sperm.
Most men’s sperm count drops to zero and remains that way while using it, which could provide 100 percent protection against pregnancy – better than any existing form of contraception.
The gel works better than the male contraceptive pill because testosterone breaks down very quickly when given in tablet form.
A 2011 Anglia Ruskin University study, including 134 women, showed that more than half of them believed a man would forget to take a male pill.
Concerns about men’s reliability may be the reason why male contraceptives, first tried in the 1970s, take so long to complete trials and become available on Main Street.
However, the Edinburgh trial team found that nine out of 10 men took the gel daily as directed.
This is based on the men’s reports and monthly exams that clearly show that their sperm count has remained consistently low and that the hormones in their blood have remained at the same level.
The researchers advised men to find a routine and rub the gel at the same time every day until it becomes a habit.
Side effects were relatively minor, and the acne problems seen in previous trials were not seen in men using the gel, although some have reported some mood swings similar to those of women who have taken the pill for years.
Another concern about male contraception is that men may have a lower tolerance for mood swings or bloating, compared to women.
But there were a small number of male volunteers who left the British trial, and this was usually due to changes in life or the breakdown of relationships.
As efforts also continue to develop the male contraceptive pill, Professor Anderson hopes the male contraceptives being tried will be successful enough to complete the journey on chemists’ shelves for men to routinely use.
He said, “ We are constantly approaching, and the guys who take the gel as instructed is another step.
“This is not just an experiment. It is about getting a male contraceptive method through development, and it is time to share the responsibility for contraception between men and women.”
Male fertility expert Alan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: “ From my experience, I think most men who would agree to taking some form of male contraception would be very compatible with it.
I saw nothing in my conversations with men that would suggest anything different.
“But I was particularly influenced by the opinions of younger men in the ‘millennial’ age group who generally take their social responsibility more seriously in this regard.”