Recently, the world was made aware of a study that cleared a contraceptive pill as safe for men. The results of the study indicate that it is possible to decrease sperm production while preserving sexual drive and avoiding serious side effects.
For years, women have been held primarily responsible for birth control and have had to suffer the side effects of various contraceptives. But, it’s 2019 and birth control should exist for everyone! This study shows that the world of sexual and reproductive health and rights could, in the future, be very different to how it is today:
1) Both men and women will be held responsible for wanted, or unwanted pregnancy.
While some people may argue that it is unfair that women have been solely responsible for birth control for so many years, there have been some advantages. With birth control options, women are able to plan for or prevent pregnancy, while men do not have the option to do so as directly. The introduction of a male birth control would ensure both sexes to have a voice in discussions about pregnancy and children.
2) There will be a greater effect on the climate.
Women who take birth control excrete the chemicals as waste and in turn, an increasing presence of these synthetic hormones have been found in soil and water around the world. As with any drug, introducing a male contraceptive would increase the level of chemicals being released into the environment.
3) Men will experience side effects of birth control that women have been experiencing for years.
In the study conducted, men reported a few non-severe side effects as well as side effects that could be seen as deal-breakers for taking the pill. The non-severe effects included fatigue, acne and headaches, and more serious reports were made of loss of muscle mass, hair loss, decrease in libido and erectile dysfunction.
Many women will find this ironic, as female contraception methods have historically had many side effects but have never been seen as ‘unsafe’ for consumption. Side effects for women can include blood clots, weight gain, increased risk of certain cancers and mental illness.
We are still a long way away from the introduction of a male contraception – but it is on the horizon!
I believe that allowing both men and women to make active choices to either prevent or achieve pregnancy will give many people more control over their lives, sexual health and safety.