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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 5th 2009.

Will the male contraceptive injection catch on?
Yes: - 54%
No: - 46%

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

NobbyMay 5th 2009.

Since trials haven't been fully completed, isn't this a premature extrapolation?

...May 5th 2009.

No, you can still ask people what they think of the idea

Finbarr SaundersMay 5th 2009.

Given the use of the needle this certainly gives a new twist to shooting up.

AnonymousMay 5th 2009.

If it blocks sperm production does that mean we won't, ahem, achieve completion? It's a great idea but if it robs me of my baby gravy then I'm not so sure.

SozzleMay 5th 2009.

I thought it was a bit of sperm and then a whole lot of passion and some vitamin E? Presumably the passion and vitamin E will be unaffected by the jab?

AnonymousMay 5th 2009.

Looking at the study's abstract, that 1.1 per 100 failure rate isn't the whole picture. "The combined method failure rate was 6.1%, comprising 4.8% with inadequate suppression and 1.3% with post-suppression sperm rebound." Translation: for about 5% of men, getting 6 monthly shots did not suppress their sperm counts enough to be included in the 2 year study period. 1.3% had achieved lowered sperm counts but they went back up. Please take this into consideration in your reporting.

DescartesMay 5th 2009.

I tend to be pretty forgetful so I'm not sure about this, once they release a male morning-after pill I'll be all set.

DescartesMay 5th 2009.

Oh, it's an injection!? That's much better. My main worry with the male pill was that if my girlfriend can't remember to take her pill every day, what makes you think I can rely on her to make me take mine?

CastlefieldMay 5th 2009.

Little pricks.

Didsbury GirlMay 5th 2009.

I'm all for this! The majority of contraceptive methods out there are womens responsibility - It's about time there was a male version available. And the side effects you state above of mood swings and loss of sex drive meaning nothing has been released yet - A lot of womens contraceptives, eg the pill, already have these side effects for women, so is it ok for women to have these side effects but not men?

JinkiesMay 5th 2009.

Ha! The pill causes mood swings in women does it? Rubbish! Women are clearly just mental, particularly so for the three weeks running up to their monthly 'visitor'.

Didsbury BoyMay 5th 2009.

I'm with Jinkies. They're all evil and deserve to suffer.

AnonymousMay 5th 2009.

It's their problem anyway, so shouldn't it be their responsibility. I doubt many women would trust a man on the pill/jab anyway

scoteeeMay 5th 2009.

About time too,there is far too much reliance in trusting some women...I'd take it all day,it makes every bit of sense to me.

AvoMay 5th 2009.

Even if this proves to be successfuly, I fear that it will still not address the issue of STI and may in fact increase the risk of such infections being spread as more people will have unprotected sex without the fear of getting pregnant.

Didsbury GirlMay 5th 2009.

How original to blame mood swings on Ladies menstrual cycle. Go find your partners Pill and read the possible side effects part on the leaflet."Anonymous says..“ It's their problem anyway, so shouldn't it be their responsibility. I doubt many women would trust a man on the pill/jab anyway”Its both peoples problems is it not? And if my boyfriend were to take this injection (Once every six months - you really think thats hard to forget regularly?) I would fully trust him.I agree Avo, obviously this will have no protection against STI's, as the female injection doesn't now, but it would be great for people in a faithful relationship to have options for the man to take something for contraceptive purposes as well as the woman.

LouMay 5th 2009.

I had a loively conversation with my boyfriend last night about this. He constantly nags about his distaste for the side effects of my pill. So when I asked him if he would consider taking the male injection inorder to relieve me of my pill taking he gave a flat refusal. He doesn't want anyone playing with his sperm count thank you very much.It would be interesting to see if how representative this is of male oppinion?

Didsbury GirlMay 5th 2009.

Lou, How does he/you feel about using condoms instead then?And you should show him the above article stating that spermcounts went back to normal afterwards!

AnonymousMay 5th 2009.

I belive that the report, but not this artice notes that Spermcounts did not return to normal in every case. The Pill has been around for 40+ years maybe when this has been in general circulation for a good number of years I might think about it.One question I would have is why conduct the trials in china? do they have the same rigerous safty standards as western countries do? Can the results be trusted in the same way as a western based clinical trial?

Agonising AntMay 5th 2009.

Lou, your fella sounds like a sensitive soul, you've got a keeper there!

JasonMay 5th 2009.

I stopped counting years ago.

AnonymousMay 5th 2009.

What I don't get, and my main wondering about this whole thingie is this: If it stops production of sperm.... surely that stops the production of, well, cum? Since that's made up of mostly sperm. So this has got to have a negative affect on the amount that comes out? Sex with women is the same whether or not there's an egg in there but could be quit different if men don't get their glory moment. I know a certain spider man that'll be gutted.

SozzleMay 5th 2009.

It's not stuff, it's "a whole lot of passion and some vitamin E"

What a load ofMay 5th 2009.


Thoroughbred MancMay 5th 2009.

Vasectomise 'em all.

AvoMay 5th 2009.

What?!?! And not have any little Avo's running around???

AvoMay 5th 2009.

I suppose the gene pool has been spoilt enough by one Avo never mind a whole brood of them.

DescartesMay 5th 2009.

maybe just euthanise avo?

AvoMay 5th 2009.

Who's going to pay for the one way flight to Switwerland though? Maybe ManCon can arrange a fund raiser.

Thoroughbred MancMay 5th 2009.

How about attending one of the remaining controversial workshops being held in the UK by that Australian euthanasia doctor?

RoxyMay 5th 2009.

Eww you prick!, ( to Jinkies ) dont you f*** dare turn it on women. I definately agree with the jab being made legal asap. The sooner the better!

Jinkies #1 FanMay 5th 2009.

Roxy it appears you have difficulty telling misogynism and obvious jokes apart. Time of the month poppet? x

RoxyMay 5th 2009.

Oi dont patronize me, merely speculating but you really are a sexist shit. =/ What exactly does your gf think to say that ay?. you should apologise. Your opinion stands for shit.

JinkiesMay 5th 2009.

Thanks peeps, and come on Roxy, relax a bit. T'was but a joke, a cheap joke yes, but only humour.

Claire RaynerMay 5th 2009.

Can this injection be given to every male over the age of 12 in Gorton?

RoxyMay 5th 2009.

Define the joke for me, it was kinda offensive. you said that to superflous i say Haha. Okay whens your period due then?. you started bleeding from your nob yet?. You never answered my question either hmmm?

east lancsMay 5th 2009.

Roxy, are you Always Ultra irritable? If somebodyformed an opinion of you based on your rants... maybe you should lillette it lie?

CasMay 5th 2009.

East Lancs, I didn't know you were 13!

east lancsMay 5th 2009.

Cas, I'm finding grey in my neck hairs - if I can't look young, I'm gonna act it mate ;o)

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