It has been a fantastic revelation for me to know that condoms can be dated back to as early as 3000 BC, which is 5000 years ago. Indeed, the condom has come a long way from that, and there has been developed in that area; however, the industry of male contraception has not flourished.
All cards on deck, there are only two common birth control options for men; condoms and vasectomies, vasectomies being a somewhat permanent option. In most heterosexual relations, females bear the burden of contraception during sex. So I am asking the same question as you: Why are there not more contraceptive solutions for men?
There has certainly been interest in the subject; however, there are more biological complications in male contraception than in females. Women ovulate just one egg in a month, while men produce hundreds of millions of sperm daily, and even if that sperm count is reduced by as much as 90%, a human male can remain fertile.
To achieve infertility, a man’s sperm count must be between 1 and 10 million per millilitre, but this is nearly impossible to achieve, at least without side effects. This is because sperm count is linked to testosterone production. The side effects of reduced testosterone in the body could be drastic, including low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and reduced muscle mass.
The quest for developing new forms of male contraceptives is quite alive, with significant breakthroughs occurring as we speak. One of the methods being investigated currently is nano-contraception. Nano-contraception is based on the idea that nanoparticles with a diameter of 100 nanometres can be delivered to the testicles and heated up.
If you could slightly warm up the testicles, you’d be able to turn sperm production on and off at will because the warmer they get, the less fertile they become. However, it is a delicate process because the testicles can be irreversibly damaged if they become too warm; the tissue dies and cannot produce sperm even after the testicles return to average temperature.
Attempts to achieve tangible results have been made by injecting nanoparticles directly into the testicles of mice. These nanoparticles were long gold nanorods with a few long polymer chains on their surface. The mice’s testicles were then exposed to infrared radiation. As a result, the nanoparticles warmed from around 30 degrees Celsius to between 37 and 45 degrees Celsius. In a procedure that seemed rather painful, heat lesions appeared on the skin surrounding the testicles of the mice.
This experiment took place in 2013, and the technology has evolved since. For example, the nanorods used in the new method are magnetic iron oxide rather than gold. In addition, they are coated with citric acid rather than ethylene glycol, showing rather promising results. Although fertility did not return to normal, there was no discernible difference in litter size of females impregnated by the treated mice, and no morphological defects were found in any of the mice pups. There was no significant difference in the sperm that did make it through.
Another male contraceptive showcasing promising results is a gel called NES/T, which contains a combination of testosterone and a progestin compound called Nestorone. The gel, applied to the back and shoulders once daily, allows the combination of the progestin compound and testosterone to absorb through the skin.
The progestin hinders a man’s natural testosterone production, reducing sperm production to deficient levels. The testosterone in the gel ensures that he retains his regular sex drive and that other bodily functions that rely on testosterone continue to function normally. What certainly seems to be very promising, safe, highly efficient, and reversible contraceptives is close to hitting the shelves of your nearest pharmacy. Still, I would not get my hopes too high as the progress is still slow.
Fertility awareness is a technique that involves tracking a female partner’s menstrual cycle to predict when she will ovulate. Partners can then avoid having sexual intercourse during this fertile period.
Fertility awareness has varying degrees of effectiveness. It is more likely to be effective if a female has regular, consistent menstrual cycles. The failure rate is 2–23 percent per year on average.
A rather complicated method of contraception withdrawal refers to removing the penis from the vagina before it ejaculates. This method, in theory, may prevent sperm from entering the vagina. However, even with the right approach, a 2014 based study showcased that while the effectiveness of this method is around 96%, 18% of couples using this method will experience pregnancy.
Outercourse refers to giving and receiving sexual pleasure in ways eliminating the chances of pregnancy, such as oral sex, mutual masturbation, or the use of vibrators. There is no chance of pregnancy as long as the sperm does not contact the vagina.
There is still a risk of contracting certain sexually transmitted infections, especially if a person comes into contact with their partner’s bodily fluids, such as sperm or vaginal fluid.
Disclaimer: This article has gathered the many different types of contraceptives and research in male contraceptives based on publicly available data. Before using any, you are advised to get professional advise