The United Nations recently co-sponsored a study examining the efficacy of male birth control, which seems like a great idea – equally distributing the responsibility for contraception between both members of a sexually active couple. The study, however, was canceled after some participants complained of side effects they experienced.
The study included giving an injection to men that acted similarly to feminine birth control. Birth control for women (patches, injections, and pills) all trick the female body into not ovulating by affecting hormone levels. This study lowered the testosterone levels in men, which in turn, decreased sperm count, reducing the chance of a man getting his partner pregnant.
There were a total of 1,491 adverse effects reported by all participants, however close to 39% of those effects were found to be completely unrelated to the experimental procedure. 6% of participants in the study – yes, just 6% – experienced side effects that led them to drop out altogether, leading to the study to be canceled. Of the 320 men, those 20 complained of side effects like mood swings, muscle pain, and acne before opting to drop out of the study.
Co-author Doug Colvard wrote that the “fluctuations in the circulating progestin following bimonthly injections” could have caused the mood swings reported, just as women experience similar outcomes from fluctuating hormone levels as a result of birth control. Those hormonal fluctuations haven’t stopped generations of women from using birth control.
Interestingly, even though the study was canceled, nearly 75% of the men who participated are still interested in seeing the male birth control hit the market.