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Will the male contraceptive injection catch on?

As scientists praise the male contraceptive jab, we ask are you ready for it?

Published on May 7th 2009.

Will the male contraceptive injection catch on?
Yes: - 50%
No: - 50%

We can fly a man to the moon, clone sheep and track each other at the touch of a button. Yet we still don't have a male contraceptive to rival the pill for women.

This could soon change. The first large-scale trial of a male contraceptive injection has proved to be 99 per cent effective in stopping men from fathering a child. The injection works by temporarily blocking sperm production and has been tested on 1,000 healthy, fertile Chinese men aged between 20 and 45. Each had fathered at least one child in the previous two years. The men were given monthly 500 milligram injections of testosterone undecanoate (TU) in tea seed oil over a two and a half year period. And the outcome? Just over one in 100 men conceived a child over the two year period; a very effective result when compared to the contraceptive pill.

No serious side-effects were reported and six months after stopping the jabs the men's sperm counts returned to normal. Two of the men reportedly didn't finish the trial, although we've not, as yet, been given a reason why.

Researchers from the National Research Institute for Family Planning in Beijing who conducted the trial, are aware that more extensive testing would need to be done to determine the long term safety. Previous attempts to develop a male contraceptive have encountered problems over reliability and side effects, such as mood swings and a lowered sex drive. But for now they say their study 'shows a male hormonal contraceptive regimen may be a potential, novel and workable alternative.'

Following the first trials in Puerto Rico in 1956, the first contraceptive pill for women was made available in this country by 1962, so that's just six years of testing. And whilst the pill has always been controversial, 3.5 million women in the UK take it. As an alternative to the wide range of female contraception options, vasectomies, condoms, or the rather daring withdrawal method, the male injection has the potential to rebalance the contraception scales which are currently heavily weighted towards women. But are men ready to revolutionise family planning. And more so, do women trust them to take full control of contraception?

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DescartesMay 6th 2009.

I'm glad this is an injection, my main worry with the male pill was that if my wife can't remember to take her pill every day, what makes you think I can rely on her to make me take mine?

DigMay 6th 2009.

A few women I've known must have volunteered for those previous attempts at a male contaceptive pill.

DescartesMay 6th 2009.

Are you saying that a few women you've known have actually turned out to be men?

robin housemanMay 6th 2009.

Raises too many objections.who gives the injection daily? What about the risk of AIDS?who can trust a man to tell the truth here?What if a woman tricks aman by getting pregnant with someone else.what if a man has hepatitis and gives it to the woman?what about syphillis transmission?whose responsibility is it to buy them?what about drug addicts (Liverpool take note) how are there spouses protected?It cant work.

Pearl necklaceMay 6th 2009.

As you are just a straightforward ****er it won't matter in your case

robin housemanMay 6th 2009.

so much for the famous scouse wit.....

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