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World Contraception Day: The Delayed Status of Male Contraceptives in India

Male contraceptive pills interfere with sperm production or viability or inhibit ejaculation in an artificial way.

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Let's Talk Sex
3 min read
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From unplanned pregnancies to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), among the two or more individuals involved in the act, whose responsibility is it to ensure the practice of safe sex every time?

Well, there aren't really any points for the right answer as it was a satirical question. Every individual involved bears equal responsibility. There is no who vs whom. Unfortunately, the perception of women bearing the onus of thinking about or taking contraceptives if Plan A didn't work out, does get a bit more stressful.

It's been a while since we heard about the male contraceptive that was developed by Md Abdullah al Noman, a PhD candidate at University of Minessota, and Gunda Georg, director of the Institute of Therpeutics and Discovery. It was said that the compound had been successfully tested on mice and induced sterility with no side effects.

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So why is there a delayed availability of male contraceptives in India? Is there any psychosocial explanation or is it just not ready to be used on humans? We spoke to an expert to understand these issues.

Apart From Condoms & Vasectomy, Is There Any Other Form of Male Contraceptives Available in the Market?

No. There are pills that are being researched like gossypol but there's nothing in the market as of now, said Dr Ajith Patra from Kindly.

"The reason for the delay is male contraceptive pills have to interfere with sperm production or viability or inhibit ejaculation in a more artificial way."
Dr Ajith Patra, MBBS, DPM, Medical expert with Kindly

This causes a lot more problems with undesirable side effects.

What's the Reason Behind the Delay? Will It Affect Fertility and Other Aspects Like Female Contraceptives?

"There are definitely positive results but the problem is it is not consistent currently," said Dr Patra.

"As is the case with all the drugs these days, it will definitely take some time before we find an effective and safe medicine with lesser side effects. Current side effects include acne, altered libido, night sweats, increased weight, and mood changes."
Dr Ajith Patra, MBBS, DPM, Medical expert with Kindly

He also mentioned that "pregnancy and fetal outcomes during and after male hormonal contraceptive treatment are similar to those of the general population." According to Sage Journals, spontaneous miscarriage rates (6-11%) were comparable to the general population (8-20%). The congenital malformation rate was 0.9-1.8% (0·0–6·3), which is consistent with the congenital malformation rate in spontaneous and ART pregnancies (4%).

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Will the Male Contraceptives Be Safe? Will They Affect the Libido of Men?

"There is no contraceptive that is 100% effective other than abstinence from sexual intercourse! A male contraceptive pill might make this possible as there are reports of complete azoospermia (absence of sperm from the fluid ejaculated during orgasm) in studies, but it's just a hypothetical concept, with some hope," said Dr Patra. Also, having to take a pill is easier than having to use a condom, which many males don't know how to use, thereby leading to failure of the method or undergoing a permanent surgery like vasectomy, which is not reversible.

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The Onus of Taking Contraception Is Mostly on Women, Why?

According to Dr Patra, "The methods of contraception available for women are easy, like taking a pill which can be done even after having unprotected sexual intercourse or using a long-term treatment like Copper T(IUD) which is reversible if the woman decides to conceive or even using a spermicide gel/foam preparations with a diaphragm."

"Male contraceptive, other than vasectomy is currently a condom, which although usually easily available, is used less owing to many things which can include poor knowledge about how to use, stigma/shyness to procure a condom."
Dr Ajith Patra, MBBS, DPM, Medical expert with Kindly

He concluded by saying that "even the thought that the orgasm won't be the same when compared to a no-condom usage sexual intercourse is another unfortunate myth due to lack of knowledge."

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