Do You Want Your Son or Husband Taking This?

Do you want your son or husband taking this?

The question refers to a new development in the search for a birth control pill for men which was described in a recent article in Nature magazine. Among the known side effects are temporary shrinkage of the testes.

My answer, for those who may be curious, is absolutely not. I do not want my son or husband taking this drug. I’m sure a lot of other people will feel the same way, including many men who won’t want to take it themselves.

My next question is why do we think it’s ok to dose young women with hormones and subject them to the insertion of painful contraceptive devices? Why are blood clots, high blood pressure, cramping, mood swings, weight gain, migraines, the possible permanent loss of fertility and liver spots acceptable risks for our young women?

Maybe we should give a little thought to both the dangers and the inherent misogyny in our current attitudes toward birth control.

This article, from the August 2012 issue of Nature magazine describe the development of the new male birth control pill I’m talking about. It says in part:

The discovery of a hormone-free way to immobilize
sperm in mice could lead to the development of oral
contraceptives for men.ROBERT
BROCKSMITH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

 

Developing oral contraceptives for men has not gone as swiftly as researchers imagined in the early 1970s, who suggested at the time that a ‘male pill’ was not far off1. But today researchers report a new way to make male mice temporarily infertile.

Although the treatment is not ready for human use, the method avoids some of the pitfalls of earlier attempts, says Diana Blithe, programme director for contraceptive development at the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved in the study. Blithe is excited by the findings: “The field has a number of leads,” she says, “and this is among the most promising.”

The technique, which is reported today in the journal Cell, appears to have a much more specific action than previous methods: it impairs sperm production by blocking a protein called BRDT. This protein was singled out as a potential therapeutic target five years ago because it only occurs in the testes, where it is required for the division of sperm cells.

If the approach proves safe in humans, it would be an improvement over hormone-based methods of male contraception, which are not completely effective and cause side effects such as mood swings, acne and a loss of libido.

These typically employ progesterone and testosterone. The progesterone limits sperm production, but it also impairs other ‘male’ features, such a high muscle mass and the ability to get erections, which a limited amount of therapeutic testoterone then restores.

“The best thing is that we did not affect hormone levels,” says study author Martin Matzuk, a reproductive biologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Teeny testes

In their experiments, Matzuk and his colleagues injected a BRDT-blocking compound into male mice. This shrank the mice’s testes and reduced their sperm count, and any sperm they did produce were immobile.

When given high doses of the inhibitor, the mice continued to mate with females but sired no offspring. Within a few months of stopping the treatment, the male mice could successfully impregnate females once more.

Matzuk’s team have begun the task of using these findings in the design of a male pill, as they try to pin down more molecular details of how the potential therapy works.

Developing oral contraceptives for men has not gone as swiftly as researchers imagined in the early 1970s, who suggested at the time that a ‘male pill’ was not far off. But today researchers report a new way to make male mice temporarily infertile.

Although the treatment is not ready for human use, the method avoids some of the pitfalls of earlier attempts, says Diana Blithe, programme director for contraceptive development at the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, who was not involved in the study. Blithe is excited by the findings: “The field has a number of leads,” she says, “and this is among the most promising.”  (Read more here.)

 

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    I certainly don’t want to take that, nor do i support anyone being dosed with chemicals for any reason other than a cure for a malady. Pregnancy is not a malady, nor is preventing one.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Good for you Manny. I don’t want any of my men taking it, either.

  • Pingback: Do You Want Your Son or Husband Taking This? | cathlick.com

  • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

    I would not knowingly ingest poison, nor would I expect or allow my wife or my sons and daughters to do so. I trust that answers the question, because these chemicals are nothing less than poison.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      True Dave. Families need to take care of one another and stop letting the larger society do things like this to us.

  • Ted Seeber

    Knowing how these studies lie, it’s a near certainty that a significant percentage of those mice never recovered full functionality.

  • cermak_rd

    I would rather my son took that than cause a woman to have an unplanned pregnancy. And I’d much rather my daughter use an IUD than have to worry that she’s going to get pregnant. There’s a time and a place for pregnancy with a suitable partner in a committed relationship. And even in said committed relationship, couples usually determine how many children they want and how they want them spaced. The easiest way to do that is with contraception. Yes, there is FAM but it requires a lot more care and effort than a modern form of birth control (i.e. injectable, implantable or IUD). A male contraception would be an excellent option because it could 1. protect men from unwanted offspring during their early uncommitted years and 2. allow couples to more equitably distribute the family planning efforts.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Go to your local drug store. Look around. There’s a whole new world waiting for you there.

      • cermak_rd

        condoms have a high variance between perfect use and actual use. It takes skill to use one correctly. The value of IUDs, implantables, and injectables is that their actual and perfect rates are pretty darned close to one another. The value of a male pharmaceutical would be that one day it too could have a close to 1 to 1 ratio between actual and perfect usage rates.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          So … you’re willing to risk who knows what kind of complications for your sons and yourself for a few percentage points of certainty? Children aren’t cancer, blood clots or strokes, my friend. Have you seen what these things do to people? If you are this afraid of creating a child, my advice is to abstain from sexual contact. That’s the only way to be 100% sure.

          • cermak_rd

            well, in my case, it’s irrelevant. But for my daughters, yes. Babies can kill through gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, ectopic pregnancies, all kinds of complications, and of course, they can screw up young lives and kill dreams for both girls and boys.

            Also we’re not talking low percentage differences. The condom as it is actually used is only 65% effective. That’s at least 25% less effective than with perfect use and it means that, on average, 35 of every 100 sexual encounters that occur during the fertile window will result in conception. I would consider that level of risk to be unacceptable to most people. And don’t forget, most abortions are results of contraceptive failure, which is usually the failure to take it or use it properly.

            • Ted Seeber

              If you have 0 sexual encounters instead of 100, what is the fertility rate of that?

    • Ted Seeber

      “I would rather my son took that than cause a woman to have an unplanned pregnancy.”

      Why are you bigoted against unplanned pregnancies?

      “And I’d much rather my daughter use an IUD than have to worry that she’s going to get pregnant. There’s a time and a place for pregnancy with a suitable partner in a committed relationship. ”

      But there isn’t a time and a place for sex being only with a suitable partner in a committed relationship?

      WTF are you teaching your kids? That lust is more important than love and that human beings are just garbage to be thrown out with the trash?


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