Male Contraceptives: What Are The Available Options And What Are Their Advantages and Disadvantages?

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A while back, the idea of using contraceptives was frowned upon and talked about in hush tones.  However, as time goes by people realize that using contraceptives is not only important for the health of the mother but it impacts the long-term financial situation of a family. For the longest while, the burden of using contraceptives has fallen on the woman with various approved methods of female contraception being availed in the market. However, the debate on who is responsible for taking contraceptives in the family has necessitated research into male contraceptives.

Some methods of male contraception are already approved and being carried out while some are still in the testing stage. While some men are opposed to using contraceptives, some are welcome to the idea that they get to take part in the decision of siring children. Male contraceptives work to target the same thing that female contraceptive do, the physiological processes that contribute to pregnancy. If you are in need of male contraception, do ample research on all approved methods and select which works best for you. Here are a couple of promising contraceptive methods for men.

Vasectomy

This is a permanent method of contraception that involves a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The surgery takes about 30 minutes to complete. It involves the permanent severance of the vas deferens. This is what carries the sperm from the testes to the penis. You get sore after the surgery but the recovery period is not too long. It is one of the most highly rated methods of male contraception with 99% effectiveness. Every 1 in 100 women gets pregnant in the first year after their partner has undergone a vasectomy. This is because pregnancy is still possible if the sperm count is above zero.

So another form of contraception is recommended right after the surgery until your semen analysis read zero sperm.  There are various methods of conducting the procedure. Your doctor should take you through all of them so you may select which is best for you. There is no age restriction for this procedure and is safe for all men in or past puberty.

Advantages

  • It is an effective method of male contraception and as long as there is no sperm left in your system the chances of impregnating a woman are minimal.
  • You only have to do it once thus you do not have to constantly worry about it after you are healed. You will still have a normal sex life.

Disadvantages

  • You often can have it reversed, but the surgery is more complicated than a vasectomy. Most health centres offer counselling sessions to educate the patient on what they are getting into. It is also not recommended to young single men who can easily change their minds about having children later in life.
  • It does not prevent you from contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s).
  • The procedure is surgical thus there is pain involved and you have to wait to recuperate before you are out and about.
Image result for male contraceptives
Some male contraceptive methods. Image from https://twitter.com/vasalgel

Condoms

Now, this is the most used contraceptive option for men. There are various condom brands giving men a variety to choose from. It is recommended that men who are sexually active to always have at least one condom on them at all times. Women can also carry condoms just to be safe. If used correctly, condoms are 98% effective, However, since people often tend to be in a hurry and put it on without following the instructions, the effectiveness reduces to 85%. The best way to ensure that you and the woman are safe is to make sure that you put it on correctly while having  sex.

Using a male condom together with a female condom does not increase the chances of protection. The truth is, male condoms were designed to be used on their own and doubling up will do no good.

Advantages

  • It requires no painful procedure or continuous use of medication.
  • It has no side effects after use. The most common types of condoms are made of latex. However, if you are allergic to latex, there are other various options such nitrile and polyurethane condoms.
  • They are various affordable types in the market thus you have an array to choose from.
  • They protect from genital fluid spread STI’s.
  • Women can tell when you have worn one thus will not be deceived.

Disadvantages

  • They are ineffective if put on the wrong way so it is advised that you take your time to put it on
  • It does not protect you from skin to skin transmitted STI’s such as herpes and genital warts.
  • You have to use it every single time you have sex if you want condoms to work.
  • Sometimes condoms can expire so it’s advisable to check expiry dates and also to change condoms in the wallet regularly because conditions of how the wallet is carried can cause the condoms to heat up.
  • Women need to be careful as some men remove condoms during intercourse. Stealthing: The Dangerous & Alarming Sexual Trend You Should Know About

Vassalage

This is a new form of male contraception that has recently been approved after years of development and testing. According to reports, the drug may already be in Kenya as it was said to be delivered by April 2018. Vassalage is a water-based gel that is injected with a tiny needle into the vas deferens. The polymer in the gel acts as a barrier for sperm that tries to enter the reproductive tube.  The sperms are then absorbed into the body. The effects are long lasting but reversible.

If you wish to restore your sperm flow, the same tiny needle with an alkaline solution is once again injected into the vas deferens. The solution dissolves the gel and is flushed out allowing your sperm to flow once again. However, the gel is to be used with caution. It prevents the flow of new sperm. Any sperm released into the system and is still viable can lead to pregnancy.

Advantages

  • The procedure does not require chopping or cutting of anything like a vasectomy.
  • It is extremely effective and a great option for male contraception.
  • It has no side effects except slight scrotal swelling right after the injection is administered.
  • The method can be reversed at any time you feel you want to have children.

Disadvantages

  • It does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It is a new drug so not many people have used it. Too early to tell if there are side effects.

Gendarussa

The reason this method is such a strong contender is that it is a non-hormonal form of contraception. This means it does not affect the male hormones such as testosterone. It uses a molecule isolated from a plant that grows in Indonesia. The leaves of the plant are converted to capsules for oral ingestion. A study tracking the effects of the drug showed that only one pregnancy had occurred in the first phase in two trials of the drug.

Advantages

  • It is a hormone-free drug thus it does not affect the male body and the hormones it produces.
  • The drug is not a permanent form of contraception thus you can stop taking the pill at will.
  • It does not require any surgical procedure.

Disadvantages

  • It does not offer protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It requires regular ingesting of the pill.

Pull Out Method

This method of contraception is often used by men who prefer the intimacy of sex without the use of a condom. They also prefer not to be on any pills due to some of their side effects. The process is quite simple and requires the man to withdraw from inside the woman before he climaxes. This minimizes the risk of sperm entering the vagina. The term ‘minimize’ is important because sperm can still escape and fertilize the egg. Most health workers do not advocate for this method since if the man can not accurately predict when he is about to ejaculate, it is a method that is bound to fail.

Advantages

  • It requires no use of pills, surgery or even wearing protection. You get to enjoy sexual pleasure without restrictions.

Disadvantages

  • It is not an effective method of male contraception since sperm can easily escape.
  • It exposes both partners to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • As a woman, it is hard to tell if the man will stay true to his word and pull out.
  • It interrupts sex.

New Male Contraceptive Pill DMAU

Like the female contraceptive pill, DMAU (Dimethandorolone Undecanoate) combines two hormones. It contains testosterone which is the male androgen and progestin. The pill includes a long chain fatty acid which slows down the clearance, allowing it to be taken once a day.

Pros of DMAU

  • It is a temporary method of male contraception as opposed to a vasectomy and long-term injections thus one can stop taking it at their own leisure.
  • As opposed to other methods of contraception that include gel lubrication, it is convenient. You can easily pack them in your bag or pocket and carry them wherever you go. You can also use an everyday reminder on your phone to ensure you never miss a dose.
  • It gives the men control over their own lives. Most men say that the decision to have children or terminate pregnancies is often left to the woman. They cannot trust a woman who says that she is on the pill. This gives them the opportunity to control decisions on issues such as when to sire children.
  • It is more dependable than temporary methods of contraception such as coitus interuptus.
  • The drug registered no damage to internal organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Cons of DMAU

  • Unlike a condom, a woman cannot confirm that the man is on the pill. Thus the pill is only effective if both parties agree and follow up on it. A woman can be easily duped to think that she is safe.
  • The man may experience a few of the side effects mentioned above. However, it is important to note that even the female contraceptive pill approved more than 50 years ago, still has side effects.
  • Just like the female contraceptive pill, you need to take it every day. This can be a nuisance since nobody wants to be tied to taking pills every day.
  • Unlike condoms, it does not give protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

There are many other male contraceptives including gels and pills which are still in the animal testing stages of development and approval. The hope is that in the future, there will be as many approved male contraceptive options as there are women. This way people can have open conversations about the use of contraceptives and share the responsibility of birth control.

What methods work for you guys? Ladies, would you trust a guy who says he is on the pill or that he has had a vasectomy so there is no need to worry about contraceptives?

Speaking of contraceptives, when is the right time to have the contraceptives conversation? Life Like A Lady Part 8: Me, Him & The Awkward Contraceptives Conversation In the Middle Of A Steamy Romantic Moment

Featured image via http://familyplanningghana.com.

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