New Directions in Contraception
As we have seen in this chapter, potential health hazards and inconveniences are associated with available contraceptive methods. Unwanted pregnancies occur each year because of contraceptive and user failure. We look at future possibilities for both men and women.
New Directions for Men
Current research has focused on methods designed to inhibit sperm production, motility, or maturation or the sperm’s ability to join with the ovum—without causing significant side effects or impairing sexual interest and function. The most promising possibility is using various formulations of testosterone or a combination of progestin and testosterone, which appears to work in 95% of men. Researchers are also attempting to develop nonhormonal contraception for men, including the use of medications for other purposes that result in infertility (Belluck, 2011).
Research has shown that most men would use a male contraceptive pill if it were available. Most women say they would trust their partners to use such a pill; only 2% said they would not trust their partners to do so. In addition, men and women think that a male pill is a good idea because the responsibility for contraception tends to fall too much to women (Nieschlag & Henke, 2005). The "male pill" will most likely, however, be administered by injection or implant, patches, or cream (Belluck, 2011).
Additional sterilization methods in clinical trials with human subjects in India, China, and the United States may be more easily reversible than vasectomy. One involves injecting a blocking gel into the vas deferens; to reverse the procedure, the gel can be dissolved. The second method uses the Intra Vas Device, which consists of two plugs inserted into each vas deferens; the plugs can be removed later. Implantation and removal of these devices can be done in 20 minutes each (International Male Contraception Coalition, 2011).