January 24, 2013
Male Family Planning
Oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, spermicides and bilateral tubal ligation are some of the most common forms of birth control methods that we usually hear or talk about. Women are the usual consumers in the market for these family planning methods. But let us not forget the men of today – quite a number of them are also being conscious and active advocates of family planning programs. Some of them have already been open to the notion that men are also responsible enough to think of and practice various family planning measures.
Since this awareness has stirred something within men, they have also started to patronize birth control methods available for them in order to be protected and to avoid contributing to unwanted pregnancies.
One of the most common forms of barrier contraceptives available for males is the latex condom. Latex condoms are the most durable among the other condom types. Aside from that, it is also the least expensive and most widely distributed in the market. These condoms are intended to cover the penis during sexual activity to prevent unplanned pregnancy or the transmission of sexual diseases. These come in different sizes, flavors, shapes and colors. Condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy but still it has a 15% failure rate. It also provides some protection from sexually transmitted diseases but not much to those that can be transmitted via direct contact such as genital warts. Irritation is the most common complaint associated with the use of latex condoms. This is usually triggered when the person has an allergy to its latex component. Other than that, condoms are fairly safe and have fewer side effects compared to some contraceptives such as pills and IUDs.
Next would be injected plugs. These were developed from China as a possible substitute for vasectomy. The plugs are primarily inserted into the vas deferens in liquid form. From there, it will harden and will now block the pathway of the sperm. The procedure will only last for about 30 minutes and it is done under local anesthesia. There are two different types of plugs and each has varied records of effectiveness. However, this form of contraceptive has fewer complications compared with the traditional vasectomy. This procedure is also completely reversible. The removal of the plug is done under local anesthesia as well and in two years’ time, the regular sperm count will be back to normal already.
Another is the “male pill” however, it is not actually in oral form, but rather, it is injected intramuscularly. These hormonal contraceptive formulations try to block or significantly reduce the sperm production. The receptors in the brain and testes responsible for the secretion of male hormones are the main targets. When there is a remarkably low level of testosterone in the blood, sperm production gradually decelerates or ends. Its effectiveness will vary according to dosage, route and preparation. The synthetic androgen used for this product is able to produce various side effects such as muscle weight gain, mood swings and even pimple outbreaks based on the clinical trials that were conducted. The effect of this male contraceptive is also reversible within four to six months. However, it is also important to know that not all males have responded to these treatments.
Since family planning is a very important aspect in life, it is best to decide about it unhurriedly and safely. For more choices and information, it is best to consult a family planning expert regarding the different methods of contraceptives available in the market.