The end of male birth control testing

By Alex Solari, Staff Writer

Birth control is a huge part of young people’s lives, so why can’t both men and women take it? Well, that was the plan until a study for a birth control shot for men was cancelled last week.

According to CNN, this shot was given to 320 men every eight weeks, and gave men synthetic testosterone so that their body stopped producing testosterone on its own. In the shot, there is also progestin that stops the production of testosterone and the testicle’s production of sperm.

This is a great premise, well, in theory. The study done for this shot tested the sperm count of men before they took the shot, while they took it, and after they no longer got the shot.

The shot was 96 percent effective, but there were cases of depression, and another case of a fast and irregular heartbeat. 20 men dropped out of the study due to various side effects including: injection site pain, depression, acne, and muscle pain.

There was even a suicide that took place that was allegedly caused by the depression this birth control caused.

In terms of fertility, the shot was shown to have a low-probability risk to affect fertility, and this, along with the other adverse side effects, caused the study to stop.

Some people are criticizing this move, especially since 75 percent of the men in this study said they thought the side effects were worth the risks.

These people feel that if women have to deal with these side effects, then men should have to deal with them, too. And I agree, sort of.

To be completely honest, I am torn on this issue. On one hand, I understand the frustration of women who experience birth control side effects, but on the other hand, I understand why the FDA would feel that this drug is not safe in the long-term.

Often, I feel people are not given a choice on what medications and chemicals they want to put in their bodies.

Although I agree that this birth control shot may not be right for some men, that doesn’t mean all men should be banned from using it.

Instead of banning the shot altogether, they should have kept on with the study, but warned those participating that there were side effects to look out for. Have you ever seen those commercials with 30 seconds of side effect warnings? They could have done something like that, except verbally.

I don’t think that this was an attack on women, but I can see why people were offended by this. However, I do agree that the side effects women face while taking birth control are laughed and mocked at, and that men’s side effects are often seen as real issues.

Instead of mocking men who had side effects from this shot, we should focus on all of the unpleasant side effects from birth control, such as weight gain, headaches, nausea, and mood changes more seriously.

I also think that any birth control that has a steady rate of infertility, regardless of what gender it is for, should be taken off the market and assessed accordingly.

Though this was a small step back for men’s birth control, we should not get discouraged. According to NPR, scientists are currently looking at the shot to see if they can make the doses of hormones more safe.

There will eventually be birth control for everyone, and hopefully, women won’t be the only ones held responsible for pregnancy.

Until then, stay safe out there, and always talk to your partner(s) about the risk of pregnancy!

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