Women on contraceptive pills understand that taking a pill at the same time, every day is extremely successful and difficult. The other forms of contraception like IUD device are not a very pleasant experience for many. A morning after pill is effective but a little heavy on budget. All this information suggests that there are a limited number of contraceptives for women. However, the new talk of the town is the male contraception that shares the burden of avoiding a pregnancy with women.
So news on a male topical gel to prevent pregnancy sounds exciting. Usually, all the improvements are focused on women i.e. oral contraceptive, patch, IUD, etc. This new contraceptive option for men adds a responsibility for pregnancy prevention is a welcome relief for many women.
This contraceptive gel for men is not available in the market yet. It is currently under trial to check its efficacy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding this trial. Here is everything that you should know about it.
How this gel works?
The gel is the result of research and development by the Population Council and the NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). For now, the name of this gel is NES/T. It is a combination of testosterone and a progestin compound, Nestorone.
This progestin helps to block natural testosterone production in men. That further reduces sperm production to extremely low or practically “nonexistent” levels, making it impossible to cause a pregnancy.
On the other hand, the testosterone component of the gel makes sure that the user is still enjoying its sex drive and all other body functions that depend on this testosterone level.
How to use this gel?
The idea of this contraceptive gel sounds like a lube or something that a person needs to apply smoothly on his penis. In reality, it is actually applied to the back and shoulders of a man and is absorbed into the skin.
This is very easy, quick and handy to use. All a user needs is a full hand approach to the back and shoulder to apply this gel. If he is unable to cover all area, his partner may help him by applying the gel. The instructions say to wash the hands after an exposure with this gel.
What are the clinical trials for?
The research team is going to conduct its clinical trials on 420 couples. In the first phase of the study, all the men will use this gel daily for 4-12 weeks. This is an initial test to check side effects if any.
After 12 weeks, if there are no negative effects i.e. the sperm level is normal; they will continue using it for 16 weeks. A decline in sperm level is enough to consider that the gel is safe as a contraceptive measure. The plan is to monitor all the male participants for 24 weeks more to check any side effects.
Currently available male contraceptives
When it comes to men, the contraceptive options are even more limited than women. Mostly, these methods are limited to condoms alone. Or if someone can manage, pulling out method may also work. A permanent solution for birth control is sterilization by vasectomy. The experts somehow don’t regard pulling out and withdrawal as an effective measure of birth control. Neither do they provide any protection against STIs.
Condoms are helpful to prevent a pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. But many people skip using condoms as it’s not always available on hand or simply they don’t like using it. Sometimes even a condom fails and leaves a chance for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.
Vasectomies are a permanent solution of unwanted pregnancies. It is a surgery, which ties a tube that transports sperms to the urethra. It is the most reliable method of male contraception.
Can this gel be a good replacement for condoms?
The hormonal contraception pills are not much liked by women and the male contraception options are limited. In this situation using a simple product like this contraceptive gel may be a huge success.
However, no one can say if this gel will be able to replace condoms completely or not. There are chances that many men won’t like it. many of them don’t like this idea of them using a contraception when their woman partners can take the hormonal contraceptives.
Choosing a contraception method is a personal priority. Women are doing it for decades and this development of men contraception is definitely an improvement. This gel may not be 100% efficient in preventing pregnancies but it will open the door of more researches to find more reliable birth control methods.
What do you think about male contraception? Share your views in the comment section below.