51% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Throughout history, men have had less than successful contraceptive measures including condoms, withdrawal, and vasectomies. Condoms are not 100% effective, withdrawal is not effective and vasectomies can be seen as daunting and permanent. Male birth control is hoped to be a less permanent way for males to have contraceptives and to level out the responsibility of preventative measures. With the success of this pill, it could lower the rate of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.
A method of male birth control is Dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU). The DMAU pill is a once-a-day pill that suppresses luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which are both types of male hormones. The goal of the pill is to reduce the production of testosterone but not to cause a permanence of low testosterone levels in the male. A study was done in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2019 on the effects of 28 days of Oral Dimethandrolone Undecanoate in Healthy Men. This study was a double-blind study that was randomized. 82 men ages 18 - 50 were given a placebo or one of three doses of the pill for 28 days. Doses greater than or equal to 200mg suppresses the LH and FSH. This study supported further testing of DMAU as a male contraceptive. Currently, Professor Stephanie Page has been leading the clinical trials through their early stages. She has been looking at DMAU through the pill and injections at Washington University in St. Louis. Phase one trials have been completed in 2020. The research for this method of male birth control is still in its clinical stages and is being continued.
A second new birth control option for males being explored is NES/T. NES/T is a rub-on gel made of testosterone, segesterone acetate, and a progestin hormone used in female contraception. The gel is meant to be rubbed onto the upper arms and shoulders and absorbed into the skin. The goal is that the gel will suppress the sperm concentrations in the male. There was a study done on 44 healthy men over a 28-day period that concluded that the combination of NES/T gel and gel simply featuring testosterone is an effective method of contraception for males. There are more clinical trials with humans that are being pursued and results are expected in 2022.
These clinical trials could revolutionize the way that birth control and pregnancy prevention are perceived if they are approved for the market. Additionally, the use of male birth control could also have a positive effect on the health of men because women are 33% more likely to go to the doctor than men. Since men would have to use birth control, they would go to the doctors more often which would increase awareness about their health and improve it.