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Male contraceptives

Strengthening reproductive rights and health

Reproductive health can only be ensured through the development of reversible, long-term and marketable contraceptives.

Vision & Mission

Where is the alternative to the condom?

Condoms are still the only available and easy-to-use contraceptive method for men*. It is special because it prevents both pregnancy and STIs. With a good Pearl Index, it also proves to be a reliable contraceptive method. However, the condom also has disadvantages: many men criticize its inconvenient and non-long-term use.

There are currently no clinical studies on alternative contraceptive methods for men* in Germany. Why isn't anything happening? Why is nothing happening?

In 2011, due to unexpectedly widespread side effects, the initially successful WHO clinical trial was suspended.

At that time, the effectiveness of a hormonal contraceptive was determined, however, no pharmaceutical company or the WHO is currently involved in contraceptive research. Focusing on the pharmaceutical industry, their interest in driving research in this field is very low. They do not see any profitable source in the development of new contraception methods.

Moreover, men's* fertility is still seen socially as an instrument of potency and power. A change within society that overcomes outdated and toxic images of masculinity is long overdue. It requires sex education on contraception focusing on men* and their fertility.

Both policymakers and pharmaceutical companies must cooperate to ensure the development of new contraceptive methods for men*, which are merchantable, for long-term use, with a low Pearl-Index as well as few risks and side effects.

Contraception

Male Contraceptives

Condom
1-12 Pearl Index

Condom

Condoms are thin, stretchy pouches that are applied on your penis before sexual intercourse. Condoms provide great protection from both pregnancy and STIs.

Advantages

  • Protection against STIs

  • Easy to use

  • Easy purchase

  • No side effects

Disadvantages

  • Risk of application errors

Contraceptive underpants
unbestimmt Pearl Index

Contraceptive underpants

The testicles are lifted by the contraceptive underpants into the inguinal canal and warmed by the body's own temperature. Alternatively, there are contraceptive underpants with an integrated heating pad. The contraceptive underpants must be worn for 15 hours a day. Sterility is achieved on average after 3 months and the effectiveness of the method must be checked regularly with a spermiogram.

Advantages

  • Presumably no side effects

Disadvantages

  • Uncomfortable application scheme

  • Limited research/studies

  • No studies on potential infertility

  • Time Intensive

Testicular bathing
unbestimmt Pearl Index

Testicular bathing

Between 1930-1950 the doctor Martha Vögeli researched the method of testicular bathing. According to her calculations, the testicular bath had to be practiced daily for a period of three weeks. Every day, the testicles must be bathed in 45-degree celcius water for 45 minutes. The procedure causes temporary infertility for about half a year.

Advantages

  • No hormonal side effects

Disadvantages

  • Time consuming application scheme

  • Poorly researched

  • Undetermined Pearl-Index

  • No data on long-term infertility

  • No data on side-effects

Vasectomy
0,1 Pearl Index

Vasectomy

A vasectomy is the male sterilization procedure. It involves a urologist separating the spermatic ducts in a surgery of about 30 minutes under local anesthesia. This results in permanent infertility. The expense of the procedure ranges from 400 to 600€.

Advantages

  • Very effective

  • Short, simple procedure

  • No side effects

  • Long term protection

Disadvantages

  • Irreversible (80% chance of refertilization)

  • Refertilization expensive (about 3000-5000€)

Not available (yet):

Contraceptive injection
Not available (yet)!

Contraceptive injection

The contraceptive injection contains a combination of testosterone and the hormone progestin, which is supposed to lead to temporary infertility. The hormonal method must be injected once a month. The method is not available yet, as every tenth participant in the clinical trial developed side effects.


Advantages

  • Presumably high Pearl-Index

  • Very effective

  • Presumably no increased risk of thrombosis

Disadvantages

  • Potential hormonal side effects

  • Multiple doctor's visits

Male contraceptive pill
Not available (yet)!

Male contraceptive pill

The male contraceptive pill is a hormonal contraceptive and has a similar composition to the hormone gel or the contraceptive injection. Studies are in very early stages. The application would work similarly to the birth control pill for women*: It is taken daily at a similar time of the day. Studies on this are only in phase 1.

Advantages

  • Presumably high Pearl index

  • Easy to use

Disadvantages

  • Presumable side-effects

  • Daily consumption

Testosterone gel
Not available (yet)!

Testosterone gel

The hormone gel composed of testosterone and progestin has been researched since the 2000s. It must be applied daily to the shoulder or chest. In the future it could be a safe contraceptive, but the transfer of testosterone from skin to skin (e.g. during hugs) is still a challenge. Studies and trials are currently in phase 3.

Advantages

  • Probable high Pearl index

  • Probable no increased risk of thrombosis

Disadvantages

  • Potential hormonal side effects

  • Daily application

  • Transmission to others by physical touch

The Sperm Switch
Not available (yet)!

The Sperm Switch

The Sperm Switch is surgically implanted into the seminal ducts on the testicles. The outpatient procedure takes about 30 minutes. The Sperm Switch works micromechanically. The device can be operated by opening or closing a valve through the skin of the testicles. If the valve is closed, sterility is achieved after three to six months. After opening the valve, which is only possible by pressing an additional safety pin, fertility is immediately restored as sperm immediately flow again through the seminal ducts. So far, there are no major investors in order to make the contraceptive method marketable.

Advantages

  • Presumably reversible

  • Long-term method

  • Presumably low side effects

Disadvantages

  • Ambulatory surgery

  • No data on long-term infertility

Vasalgel / Hydrogel
Not available (yet)!

Vasalgel / Hydrogel

Vasal gel is a non-hormonal contraceptive injected into the spermatic ducts. The gel narrows the spermatic ducts so that the semen is damaged and thus becomes immobile. The procedure is similar to a vasectomy, but instead of permanently cutting the vas, the hydrogel is intended to act as a flexible filter for sperm. The goal is for the product to be easily dissolved or flushed out whenever a man wishes to restore the flow of sperm and last for approx. 10 years. It has not yet been proven that the method is 100% reversible, hence the vasalgel is not yet available.

Advantages

  • Presumably high Pearl-Index

  • Presumably

  • Presumably reversible

  • Long term method

  • Short, simple procedure

Disadvantages

  • No studies on potential infertility

  • Limited research/studies

FAQ

The important questions

When will the first reversible and long-term contraceptives for men* become available?

Unfortunately, we cannot answer this question precisely ourselves. The launch of reversible and long-term contraceptives for men* depends on the already existing clinical trials and their results. The interest of the pharmaceutical industry and of investors for medical products will certainly have an impact as well. With an optimistic vision for the future, we expect to be seeing contraceptives for men* in 2030 at the earliest.

Why were no contraceptive methods developed for men* in the last 60 years?

From our point of view, there are several reasons as to why no contraceptives for men* have been developed in the last 60 years. First, medicine and research focused on the female body carrying the pregnancy. Patriarchal structures and the traditional gender roles of men* and women* further reinforced the development of contraceptives, which can still be felt in our social perception today. Pharmaceutical companies, which are essential in developing new contraceptives, still perceive no or hardly any demand for contraceptive methods for men*. Last but not least, the issue has not yet been adressed in the political agenda of nation states and international organizations.

How can I as a man* take more responsibility regarding contraception?

Basically, there are only two options for men* to use contraception - condoms or vasectomy. However, you can also take responsibility by talking to your partner and asking questions about the well-being and comfort with the use of contraception. Last but not least you can take responsibility by sharing the costs in a fair manner, or advocating for the reproductive rights of men*.

What contraceptives for men* are currently being developed?

Many different methods for men* are currently being evaluated. You can find the different contraceptive methods that are currently being researched and in development in our glossary.

What are the alternatives to the birth control pill?

Find out more

Contact

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* While we speak of women and men, we are aware of the diversity of genders and demand better contraception for all people.

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