There are about a zillion conversations we could have about fertility and contraceptives. The debate on who should have access to birth control and what it should cost. What we’re doing to help third world countries to gain access to such tools and whether the government should be involved. What role men have in pregnancies. And so forth and so on.
Considering what hot buttons of conversation these topics can be, isn’t it about time that men shared some of the responsibility in birth control? And we’re not just talking about using and buying condoms, either.
We ask because it has come to our attention that there’s a new male contraceptive out there that’s not only cheap but also ready for market…but we’ll probably never see it. Why? According to one expert, it’s because most pharma companies that would invest in such a product are helmed by well-off white men who would never use the product themselves.
“The fact that the big companies are run by white, middle-aged males who have the same feeling-that they would never do it-plays a major role,” Herjan Coelingh Bennink, a gynecology professor who helped develop the contraceptives Implanon and Cerazette told the National Post. “If those companies were run by women, it would be totally different.”
Plus, you know, there’s also the fact that these companies already get huge paydays from female contraceptives. Distributing a cheaper alternative isn’t exactly conducive to their bottom lines.
Anyhow, this particular method of male birth control comes from a university startup in India, and is being credited to 76-year-old biomedical engineer Sujoy Guha. Basically, a gel-like substance that’s said to have the consistency of melted chocolate is injected into tubes in the scrotum. That gel disfigures the heads and tails of active sperm, making them sterile. Then, when a man wants to have children, he can reverse the contraceptive with another shot that breaks down the gel.
Following years of human trials and an impressive breakdown that translates to roughly 10 bucks a procedure, Guha says the injection is ready to be distributed and could be a huge game-changer is countries around the world.
Here in Canada, we love the idea of sharing some of the contraceptive stress with our male partners. Remembering to take a pill every day, stocking up on condoms or even having IUDs implanted can be a pretty big responsibility when you’re shouldering it all yourself.
Fingers crossed some of these companies wise up and get the ball rolling on this thing. Because it’s more than about time.