Recently, an ongoing study of male birth control was put to a halt after a few complaints of adverse side effects. 320 men in monogamous relationships ages 18-45 participated in this study. The men would receive injections of 200 milligrams of progesterone and 1000 milligrams of testosterone, in the form of two shots every eight weeks for up to 26 weeks. This is similar to the Depo-Provera shot available for women. The shot was 96% effective at preventing pregnancy however, due to the side effects the study has stopped until a balance between safety and efficiency is found.
Some adverse side effects included “one case of depression, one intentional overdose of acetaminophen, and a man who experienced an abnormally fast and irregular heartbeat after he stopped receiving the injections,” according to endocrine.org.
Other less severe effects include mood swings and loss of libido. Despite the side effects, 75% of the men in the study were willing to continue using the birth control.
Depression, mood swings, and a decreased sex drive are all common side effects of female hormonal birth control however. Some more severe effects include blood clots and increased risk of heart disease. Yet hormonal birth control for women is still available with little concern about the balance of safety and efficiency. It’s not just the shot that has these issues; it’s every form of hormonal birth control including the pill, and inserts. Even non-hormonal birth control has risk. Many women also feel like birth control is their responsibility since they would be the ones having a child. Also, some women depend on it for medical and not just sexual purposes.
While the health and safety of the men in this study is important, it is also important to realize that this is an expected reality many women face in their lifetime. The truth is there is no form of birth control, hormonal or not, that doesn’t suck. Hopefully the result of this study will make people more aware of the effects of birth control for both men and women, and lead to more improvements in the future.