Male Contraception Gaining Sex Appeal, Gustavus Survey Finds

By Jeremy Olson
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Gustavus Adolphus College survey of 1,872 U.S. adults found that 65 percent of men in long-term relationships and 57 percent of men in short-term relationships would be interested in male contraception in pill or gel form, but it also found some concerns of being perceived as “less of a man.”

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Male equivalents of the female birth control pill are coming closer to reality through research at the University of Minnesota and other institutions, and perhaps just in time, as pressure grows on men to take more responsibility for pregnancy prevention and family planning.

The first male pill seems increasingly within reach due to tests in animals of a molecule called H2-Gamendazole, which U researchers found causes reversible infertility.

At the same time, a California foundation is studying an injectable gel that blocks sperm. Nobody’s sure when such contraceptives could reach the market, with funding shortages and research setbacks causing delays.

“The standing joke is that for the last 40 years, we’ve been five years away from having a male birth control pill,” said Rebecca Cuellar, a U researcher testing molecular targets for development as male contraceptives.

Public interest is peaking ahead of scientific breakthroughs, though it’s tempered by worries about possible side effects — and changes in gender roles.

A Gustavus Adolphus College survey of 1,872 U.S. adults found that 65 percent of men in long-term relationships and 57 percent of men in short-term relationships would be interested in male contraception in pill or gel form, but it also found some concerns of being perceived as “less of a man.”

People want options for men between the extremes of condoms — which can be used incorrectly — and surgical vasectomies, said Yurie Hong, an associate professor in the gender, woman and sexuality studies program at Gustavus, which commissioned the survey for a Oct. 3-4 conference on reproductive technology.

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