The Pill is now 50 years old, and is still one of the most common choices for birth control. Other common contraceptive measures include condoms, vasectomies, and IUD. Although these are some of the most common birth control methods, there are more available, and new birth control methods are being researched.
Here’s a look at what the future may hold for birth control choices. All of these methods are not yet available, but are being researched so that they could be available soon. Also, although most existing birth control methods are focused on women, all of these potential birth control methods are geared towards men.
I know, generally when you use the words birth or baby and ultrasound, you assume that the woman is already pregnant and you’re getting a glimpse at your tiny baby. However, ultrasounds could also be used as a safe method of male contraception. (1) Researchers have found that a “blast of ultrasound to the testes” could be an effective method of birth control. In fact, their research shows that it could “stop sperm production for six months”! This is a simple and cheap procedure that seems to have no side effects. Soon men could be able to go in for a quick ultrasound treatment twice a year, and have an effective means of birth control.
Male Contraceptive Jab
There are contraceptive jabs already available for women that use hormones to prevent pregnancy. (3) Work is underway to make a male contraceptive jab available as well. It also works on the basis of hormones. Men are injected monthly with testosterone in order to stop sperm production. (4) It is believed to be safe and effective, and fertility returns to normal after treatment is stopped. This method has actually been given trials in humans in China, and is now on trial in the UK, but further tests and studies are necessary before it is licensed for widespread use. This method of birth control could be available within a few years, and is set to become a popular family planning choice.
100 million women around the world are on the pill. (5) In the future, though, the responsibility could be on the men. Medical researchers are trying to develop a male version of the pill. Unfortunately, safely stopping constant sperm production with a pill is a lot more complicated than influencing a woman’s fertility. Despite years of research, the male pill is still a ways in the future.
This could combine high tech boys’ toys with birth control. Australian researchers, led by Professor Derek Abbott, are pioneering a unique birth control method. (6) Basically, a tiny valve is implanted into the vans deferens (the tube that sperm travels through). This valve can be opened or closed by remote control! (7) This means that men could essentially turn their fertility on and off just by hitting a button. Although this method still needs a lot of testing and perfecting, this could be a popular choice…especially with families.
(1) “Scientists to test ultrasound as male contraceptive”, BBC News
(3) “Contraceptive injections” by Dr David Delvin, Netdoctor
(4) “Male ‘contraceptive jab’ closer”, BBC News
(5) “Top 10 Pill Myths”, by Dawn Stacey M. Ed, LMHC
(6) “Sperm Warfare”, The Times
(7) “Remote control birth control” by Louise Hall, Sydney Morning Herald