The male pill is coming – but don’t hold your breath

The male pill is coming – but don’t hold your breath

ON THE PILL: In this seven-part series we explore the history, myths, side-effects and alternatives of the pill, and why it’s the most popular form of contraception in Australia.

The female contraceptive pill has helped millions of women take control of their fertility and reproductive health since it became available in 1961. Yet a male equivalent has yet to be fully developed. This effectively leaves men with only two viable contraceptive options: condoms or a vasectomy.

The idea of creating a male contraceptive has been around almost as long as the female contraceptive. In theory, targeting the production of sperm should be a simple process. The biology of sperm production and how they swim towards the egg are well understood.

Yet, studies aimed at developing an effective male pill have been dogged by issues such as severe side effects. Most recently, a study that injected men with the hormones testosterone and progestogen – similar to hormones found in the female pill – had to be stopped early.

Read more: Why the male ‘pill’ is ...

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