23 February 2009

Male Fertility Control: What's the Hold-up?

So, men really do want to take personal responsibility for birth control.
While only two male contraceptive options (vasectomy and condoms) are available, they are both widely used, making it clear that men are willing to accept responsibility for birth control. In fact, one study assessed the responsiveness of men from four continents and nine countries to the possibility of "male fertility control," and found that on average more than half of those surveyed were willing to use such a method. The legal responsibility associated with fathering a child is also motivating men to take control of their reproductive fate.

What's the hold-up?
Most private industries are no longer interested in funding male contraceptive research, for multiple reasons, including a complicated FDA approval process due to lack of previous experience with male birth control, reduced insurance coverage of contraceptives in general, and a high development cost for a product that would be ideally of low purchase cost, especially in developing countries. This leaves the public sector as the sole source of funding, which comes with it both budget and experimental constraints. But despite this shortage of financial support, many innovative scientists around the world are working to make male contraception a reality.

A readily available male contraceptive would certainly ease women's burden. It just may advance equality between the sexes while offering another method for ensuring a choice in becoming parents.

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