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Male Contraception Is on the Horizon

Imagine throwing away your birth control pills and asking your significant other to take on the burden of contraception.

Scientists are getting closer to making that a reality with their work on testosterone injections to temporarily block sperm production. (Six months after the injections, men's sperm counts return to normal.) Trials in China so far show promise: one man in a 100 fathered a child while on the injections.

The injections may be available in about five years, but for now, men's contraceptive options are condom use, vasectomy, and . . . withdrawal (obviously, the least safe method). Interestingly, only a third of men polled by the Family Planning Association said they were interested in hormonal contraception. And, even though there are no serious side effects to the injections, almost a third of the 1,045 men in the Chinese trials stopped participating, and none gave reasons why.

If hormone injections as male contraception became available and you knew they were as effective as the pill, would you want your significant other to try it? Would you foresee any problems in negotiating responsibility for birth control between you both?


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