When it debuted in 1960, the birth control pill set off a social revolution, and a legal fight, that’s still unfolding nearly 60 years later. One of the major downsides of this medical innovation — and something which had been an issue before 1960 as well — is that women are often expected to deal with birth control by themselves.
Now, finally, it appears that a male birth control pill is on the horizon. Dimethandrolone undecanoate or DMAU, has cleared its first hurdle, according to US News And World Report. DMAU works by suppressing several hormones, including testosterone, required for sperm production, and the first study of 100 men found that a once daily dosage, over time, hit levels low enough to limit the amount of sperm. Despite how “suppressing testosterone” sounds, none of the men in the study showed any symptoms of testosterone deficiency. In other words, aside from some minor weight gain, which may not be the drug’s fault, it’s pretty much without symptoms in the short term.
What’s yet to be seen is whether the pill works over time. Unlike the uterus and ovaries, which put out one egg a month bar any unusual circumstances, the testicles are pretty much cranking out sperm 24/7. This is why another male contraceptive just straight up blocks sperm; it only takes one to cause pregnancy, after all. But even if this iteration of the male pill does work, there’s a bigger hurdle. While women are more likely to trust their partners with contraception than you might think, quite a few men still (archaically, absurdly) believe that contraception is a woman’s job. In short, while there may soon be a male pill, the question of whether it will recieve mainstream acceptance remains.
(via US News And World Report)