Wake us up when female birth control is this easy and pain-free, mmmmkay?
If you woke up this morning wondering how the world can make things even easier for men than they already are, you’re in luck! A new, non-invasive, easy AF birth control gel for men is currently being tested (no, not condoms) and women everywhere are like, “when can we have some easy contraceptive options for a change?”
The National Institutes of Health recently funded a study to see if a topical gel for men could prevent pregnancy. Which, sure, great, more contraceptive options for sexually active couples is a welcome advance in reproductive health. Especially an option that lifts the burden from women. Condoms protect us from STIs, but the failure rate is 15 to 18 percent. So…gel.
“Any time we can potentially offer couples more options for contraception is a small victory in reproductive health,” Dr. Jennifer Ashton, OB/GYN, tells ABC News.
Yes. Absolutely. But…a gel? Really? Between gels and condoms, men will truly never know the hormonal horror and physical risks women go through all in the name of contraception. Pills, shots, IUDs, tubal ligations — you name it, all of it sucks.
Here’s how the gel will work for those participating in the trial: they slather it on their arms and shoulders (!!!!) daily for 20 weeks. Once their sperm count plummets to a point identified as “infertility,” they and their female partners will then be asked to limit their use of the gel only for pregnancy prevention for a year. After the year is up, doctors will monitor them for six months to make sure the effects on their sperm count are reversible.
Nesterone, the main pharmaceutical component of the gel, is regularly used in female contraceptives. When used alone in men, it lowers their sperm count and causes testosterone levels to drop. The gel will have testosterone in it to counteract any unwanted side effects — like acne, weight gain, and a lowered sex drive.
How convenient! Most birth control options for women come with all of those side effects and then some, with absolutely no relief. While the lengthy trial to test the effectiveness of the gel is lengthy, it’s a walk in the park when you compare it to something like an IUD, which can be excruciatingly painful to have implanted and comes with its own barrage of side effects (yes, even the non-hormonal copper ones).
Women everywhere are reacting exactly the way they should.
Yeah. No one’s really holding out hope that men will a.) actually remember to do this every single day in order for it to be effective, or b.) that it will even make it past the trial. My own husband washes his face twice a year with bar soap and wonders, aloud, why he has flakes of dry skin in his beard — men are so used to us solving their problems, somehow this will become ours to solve too.
Here’s a bright side to the gel: because the research is being funded by the U.S. government, the eventual cost for the gel should be affordable.
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