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The Buchtelite

Male birth control study

By Michelle DeShon, Opinion Editor

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A new form of male birth control was being studied, but trials ceased due to the side effects men were experiencing.

A hormone shot that lowered sperm count was given to the male trialists every eight weeks. The study found that it would be about 96 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. A total of 320 men from various countries took part in the study.

But the second stage of the study was the end of the road for a number of the participants. Many of the men were dropping out because of the undesirable side effects they were experiencing, including muscle cramps, mood swings, weight gain, acne, change in sex drive, and even a few reported cases of depression. Would men trade in a pimple-covered face for an increased sex drive?

Specifically, about half the men reported acne, about 20 percent reported a mood disorder, 15 percent reported muscle pain, and about 38 percent reported an increase in sex drive.

Sound familiar ladies?

Side effects experienced by women taking birth control pills range from nausea, weight gain, changes in mood, decreased sex drive, to headaches. Some of the more positive side effects include clearer skin, lighter and more regular periods.

To women, these side effects have become a normal part of our lives. We have taken on the responsibility of keeping a stock of condoms and remembering to take a pill at the same time each day.

A vox.com article suggests that the effects that men experienced were more extreme than those that women usually experience. A small number of the men in the study experienced severe depression and attempted suicides.

According to an article on npr.com the research is still ongoing, but most of it is at a fairly early level. The scientists involved in the trial believe they’re still a decade away from coming up with something for men.

Women using birth control are weighing and accepting the risks of taking the pill, or another form of contraception, when compared to the chance of pregnancy. It’s safe to assume women see the side effects as less of an issue than pregnancy so they deal with it, but men, apparently, may not.

Why would men want to take on all of those side effects if they are not the ones getting pregnant and dealing with the consequences? The answer may lie with the men who choose to continue with the study regardless of the side effects. Despite the negative attention this study has been receiving on social media, about 75 percent of the men participating in the trial were willing to continue with the shots.

According to a press release from the study, “Despite the higher than expected number of adverse events, many participants expressed their satisfaction with the method and indicated that their partners were relieved that they did not have to bear the burden of contraception themselves.”

I understand that men may not want to take on these side effects if they won’t be carrying the fetus, but should the burden of safe sex be the women’s responsibility?

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The editorially independent student voice at The University of Akron since 1889.
Male birth control study