07 Dec 2018: Now, a male birth control gel is on its way
A lot of couples in the world face the problem of unintended or unplanned pregnancy.
While there are several methods of birth control, mostly it's the woman who has to take the maximum responsibility.
Now, in a news that will come as music to women's ears, scientists in the US are on their way to test a male birth control gel.
Traditional methods: But first, let's talk about the usual birth control methods
Usually, to prevent getting pregnant, women use contraceptives such as pills.
Sadly, there have been many cases where they don't work and also cause side effects like nausea, headaches and breast tenderness.
There are also Intrauterine Devices (IUDS), which require insertion and many women find it painful.
Men, on the other side, are expected to using only condoms or getting a vasectomy.
The 'super' gel: Gel to be applied on back and shoulders every day
This week, scientists in the US began a large clinical trial to test a gel-based male contraceptive.
Men need to rub the gel on their back and shoulders once a day. The gel contains a combination of a progestin compound and testosterone that's absorbed through the skin.
The progestin reduces sperm production to low/nonexistent levels, while the testosterone would work to maintain normal sex-drive.
Process: Wait beyond 2022: Trials get finished, then FDA approval required
The National Institute of Health is funding the trial and the researchers plan to enroll 420 couples.
The trial won't fully finish until 2022.
Thereafter, the investigators will need to conduct more studies with thousands of additional men before the drug can get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If it proves safe and effective, it'll fill an important public health need.
Reactions: Social media saw mixed reactions from women over the gel
As the news spread, many women felt it was unfair because using a gel seemed more convenient than pills or IUDS.
"Male birth control is going to be rubbing a gel on your shoulders?! Nah y'all can swallow a pill every single night, get injections & implants like the rest of us," said one.
While other women seemed to celebrate the progress.
Analysis: Why aren't there birth control pills for men?
Now let's talk about why there isn't a pill for men just like women's? Well, mathematical reality.
Women produce one or two eggs a month, but men make 1,000 sperms a second.
That means every time a man ejaculates, there are 15-100mn sperms. So it's tougher to terminate that high number.
Also, previous attempts of male birth-control pills had side effects, like liver damage.
Responsiblity: About time men share the burden of contraception
It's a sad fact that the grass is not greener on either side for women.
If they have been given the boon to bring a human into the world, they also carry the burden to do the opposite.
The clinical trial brings with it lots of hopes for an easy birth control and an opportunity for men to share the burden of contraception.