YourLIFE: Will birth control be his job?
YEARS ago when I was researching the male pill we found very few takers. There were two main reasons.
First, men distrusted a pill with hormones that shut down sperm production. They were suspicious the pill would also affect their sex drive and their performance.
And second, in the 1970s, men thought contraception was women's business and felt no urge to take responsibility for family planning.
Well, the tide has turned. Nine thousand men can't be wrong.
That's the number taking part in a US study that has shown that two out of three men in Spain, Germany, Mexico and Brazil want to share responsibility with their partner for contraception.
No need to snip
A new approach means the vasectomy vasectomy, male sterilization by surgical excision of the vas deferens, the thin duct that carries sperm cells from the testicles to the prostate and the penis. is out and "the plug" is in. Made of silicone gel, the plug is inserted through a small hole in the scrotum scrotum: see testis. under local anaesthetic and placed in the vas deferens, the tube carrying sperm from the testicles to the penis.
The intra vas device (IVD (Interactive VideoDisc) See interactive video. ) acts as a contraception for men because it blocks sperm from travelling to the outside without preventing ejaculation ejaculation /ejac·u·la·tion/ (e-jak?u-la´shun) forcible, sudden expulsion; especially expulsion of semen from the male urethra. .
In a small study of 30 men the plug was 100 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy. And in tests on monkeys it has proven to be wholly reversible.
The great thing is that it's a whole lot easier to pull the plug than it is to attempt the micro-surgery that's required to reverse a vasectomy.
However, we don't know if damming back sperm in the long term will lower a man's fertility.
Only long-term testing in large numbers of men would answer that question.
Before you get too excited, the plug isn't a contraceptive that can be put in and taken out at will, but an alternative to vasectomy for men who feel their family is complete.