Buckle up, folks. I have big news. Only 60 years after the first oral contraception for women was released, we are finally starting to see a working pill for men. I know. I know. It happened so quickly. Almost in the blink of an eye.
I’m being sarcastic, I know. And perhaps it’s not warranted. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know all that much about what actually makes the birth control pill for women work outside of the fact that when my wife used to take the pill, it messed with her hormones, her water weight, and her cycle. But I must admit, since 1957, when the FDA finally approved the birth control pill for women, human kind has invented communication satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, digital music, and the cell phone. You would think that someone would have said, “You know what, perhaps we could take this whole birth control thing we have going for women and apply it to men?”
But here we are in 2018 and modern science has finally taken up this challenge.
According to The Washington Post, “dimethandrolone undecanoate, a potential new birth control pill for men, is being touted as the ‘best hope’ for a nonpermanent male contraceptive option yet.” The pill is still being tested to see what the long-term impact will be to sperm count, but so far it does have a few conditions/ drawbacks. For instance, it has to be taken with food and it can have negative effects on cholesterol levels, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.
But the big side effect that most people are talking about is (drum roll, please) that it caused men to gain weight… I know. I know. It’s tragic. Right? Well… NO. Any woman reading this who has ever taken the pill is giving this side effect the most epic eye roll ever. And it’s with good reason. Oral contraception has been having this impact on women for decades. In fact, while researching for this article I told my wife about this side effect and her response was: “Oh boo-hoo! How much weight did I gain on the pill?… Or while pregnant? Ridiculous.”
Irony aside, creators of the male birth control pill are concerned that this will discourage men from actually taking it, causing women to continue to be the heavy lifters of pregnancy control and family planning. And you know what, that might just be the case. I have to assume that there are many men out there who would use any excuse to keep from having to do any sort of pregnancy planning. But at the same time, many of those men might not see the need to wear a condom either.
But the fact is, as a father of three who opted for a vasectomy, I would’ve opted to take this new birth control pill. Though I have a feeling my wife would’ve continued to take the pill too. And part of me wonders if this is the direction the male birth control pill will go. It will give both parties a little more control over the parent-planning situation, and it will grant a lot of people the option of double coverage. Both men and women will have that daily alarm that reads “take pill” and everyone will be gaining a few extra pounds.
And to be honest, that sounds like a wonderful thing.
Am I being too optimistic? Perhaps. Maybe. I don’t know, but what I do know is that many men will take the pill if and when it becomes available. Many men will see it as an opportunity and not a burden. Because even back in the 90s, when I was in high school, I asked the question, “Why don’t men have a birth control pill?” and a lot of guys nodded along with me.
Sure, we are way behind in this area of pregnancy control. Sure, something like this probably should have hit the market decades ago. Yeah, some guys are going to be like, “But I don’t want to gain weight…” But I have faith that a pregnancy pill for men will be a step towards better pregnancy planning. It will allow men to step it up, and ultimately grant more equality.