If every time you reconsider your birth control method you can’t help but think “Why is it that there isn’t any better birth control for men?” well, The New York Times has an answer for you …or at least a lot of potential answers. The Times’ Pam Belluck wrote an optimism-inducing piece about a surprising variety of male birth control methods that are currently being tested, some of which will be presented this October at a conference sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Most tested methods involve the use of testosterone and progestin to inhibit sperm production, Belluck writes, but “other ways of interrupting sperm production, maturation or mobility” are also being studied. Dr. David Clapham at Harvard “discovered that sperm tails contain calcium ion channels, with electrically charged atoms “turbo-charging the sperm” to reach eggs; he’s developing a drug to disable the channel. Another approach, from the Male Contraception Information Project, involves “briefly heating the testes with ultrasound, which can halt sperm production for months,” says director Elaine Lissner.
Will men use them? If one of the test subject’s experience is anything to go on, male birth control will be a chick magnet. Steve Owens tried several methods, including the implant, which is visible under the skin. Men reacted warily, Owens told Belluck, but “women were just totally excited … If I were single, I probably would have been able to use that as a dating thing.”