For the second time in as many years, the male birth control pill is, once again, almost here. Newsweek recently write, “A male birth control pill may finally be around the corner,” and The Guardian has trumpeted, “Male pill could be on horizon as trials yield positive results.”
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, these results are not what they appear to be. The study in question was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society; researchers reported that a daily dose of this male birth control pill, called dimethandrolone (so catchy), is able to alter men’s hormone levels. These alterations can successfully suppress sperm production.
There is reason to be skeptical: this study is unpublished and, therefore, not peer-reviewed. It involved a very small sample size and was completed over the course of just one month. It seems that this research may fall by the wayside… again.
Researchers have been investigating the potential for male birth control pills for over 6o years. The delay in results and product is due in part (like 90%, probably) to poor funding and canceled trials. Additionally, many (myself included) have the perennial speculation that women may not trust men to take a daily pill, and that men don’t care enough about contraception to secure a prescription. Though science is bringing us closer to a potential solution, I’m not holding my breath.