In the ongoing saga of lies and deception surrounding Male Birth Control Watch, we've repeatedly been assured that an actual male birth control pill is "right around the corner." Now scientists are saying — once again — that an actual male birth control pill is, uh, right around the corner!
At the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) this weekend, a group of researchers said that they have gotten close to figuring out how to make the elusive male BC pill finally happen. Their idea is to load dudes up with lots of extra testosterone, which can be used to decrease sperm production.
"At certain doses it causes infertility," researcher Jillian Kyzer said in a press release on the group's findings. "But at those doses, it doesn't work for up to 20% of men, and it can cause side effects, including weight gain and a decrease in 'good' cholesterol."
Still, Kyzer and coauthor Gunda I. Georg are hard at work to develop a male birth control pill that's safe, effective and reversible. "[A male pill] would be wonderful to provide couples with a safe alternative because some women cannot take birth control pills," Georg said.
Neither Kyzer nor Georg said anything about whether or not having so much excess testosterone in their system would turn men into raging Hulk-like sports and sex monsters, but we're assuming that's a given.
In the past, other teams of researchers have promised us various forms of male birth control, including pills, a surgical implant and a patch that delivers testosterone into the bloodstream. Yet none of these past efforts have really panned out.
If an actual male birth control pill eventually hits the market, however, there may be some implications to consider, such as a possible uptick in STIs as a result of less condom usage or even unwanted pregnancies, as a result of horny ne'er-do-wells lying to their partners about whether or not they are truly "on the pill."
BBC News conducted a poll 15 years ago about whether women would actually trust their partners to regularly take a hypothetical birth control pill. The poll got a mixed bag of reactions. Some readers said that they'd absolutely trust men with the responsibility of taking the pill, and even added that it would help to add some much-needed gender equality to the area of reproductive health. Not everyone was sold, though.
"Trust someone else with my health and well being?" asked a woman named Alyson from Canada. "I don't think so!"
A fair point, but given the odds of Male Birth Control Watch actually ending within our lifetimes, it's probably moot.