Male Birth Control Options: Everything You Need To Know

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What do Male Birth Control Options Mean? Why is it Required?

Male birth control, also known as a male contraceptive, is a different method associated with avoiding pregnancy that solely involves male physiology unlike most of the contraceptive methods. The methods can be either behavioural, permanent, or barrier.

As the upcoming generations of men are more likely to be equal partners at home, they are also hyper-aware of how parenthood could impact their lives in the long run as compared to the previous generations. Whereas women have long understood the importance of having choices with their reproductive health and have carried the burden of contraception, it’s high time to establish equality in this aspect as well.

Methods That Allow Convenient Male Birth Control Options

As it is previously mentioned, all the contraceptive methods fall under three broad categories namely – barrier method, behavioural method, and permanent method.

Barrier Method:

This method acts as a barrier in keeping men’s sperm from reaching the women’s egg. The most popular ones are – condoms and spermicides, which are easily available at drug stores.

1. Condoms:

This is a super popular and accessible barrier method that can reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. These are available in different shapes, sizes, colours, and materials, that is latex, polyurethane, and polyisoprene.

Effectiveness: The overall potential of this contraceptive is 98%, however, if used incorrectly, by putting it on too late or causing it to tear it can only work up to 85% of the times.

2. Spermicides:

A medicinal substance that upon application kills the sperms, it is to be applied into the vagina when used as the only contraceptive. To increase the efficiency it should be used along with a condom.

Effectiveness: The chances of failure while using only spermicides as a contraceptive is 21%.

Behavioural Method:

This method of contraception requires the couple to modify their sexual behaviour in certain ways, in the case of males it involves withdrawal, outercourse, abstinence, and fertility awareness. However, these methods can only work out successfully with the cooperation of both the partners and not just males.

1. Withdrawal:

This process involves the removal of the penis from the vagina before it ejaculates, theoretically, it aids against the entering of sperms into the vagina. Now, this is not as simple as it sounds, it is difficult to time as it requires withdrawal before any ejaculation occurs, not just at the beginning. Additionally, it is important that the penis is completely clear of the vagina to prevent any contact between the ejaculate and vagina.

Effectiveness: Studies have proved that the effectiveness of this method can be about 96%.

2. Outer Course:

This process doesn’t involve the semen coming in contact with the vagina. It can involve oral sex, using a vibrator, or mutual masturbation using methods that involve giving and receiving sexual pleasure without actual sexual intercourse.

Though it should be noted, that sexual diseases can be transmitted when the person comes in contact with bodily fluids of their partner like semen or vaginal fluids.

Effectiveness: Outercourse activities are 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.

3. Abstinence:

This term can be used in two ways, first, no sexual intercourse at all. The second way is when there is an absence of mere vaginal intercourse. This contraceptive might be hard to opt for as it’s not a cakewalk to resist the natural urges of the body.

Effectiveness: Abstinence that avoids involvement in all sexual intercourse guarantees a zero risk of pregnancy and eliminates the likelihood of any sort of sexually transmitted diseases.

4. Fertility Awareness:

This method focuses on monitoring the female partner’s menstruation cycle, so you can notice the ovulation period and strictly avoid sexual intercourse during this period of high fertility. This method cannot be practised alone by the male, the female also has to learn about how to monitor the period of the menstruation cycle, charting the period, and abstaining from sex when required the most.

Effectiveness: The success of this contraceptive depends upon the fact of how regular is the female’s menstruation. The more predictable the cycle the better the chances of succession. The failure rate can be anywhere between 4% to 23% every year.

Permanent Method:

A permanent method of birth control is extremely effective in avoiding pregnancy, it is just difficult to reverse or change your mind once it’s done. Another drawback associated with it is that it doesn’t provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. The methods include vasectomy and RISUG (not exactly permanent).

Vasectomy:

It is a surgical procedure for permanent contraception, also known as sterilization, in this process, the male vasa deferentia is cut and tied up or sealed to prevent sperm to enter the urethra, thereby preventing fertilization through sexual intercourse.

Effectiveness: The effectiveness of this method completely depends on how well the surgery is carried out. To ensure the maximum efficacy of the operation, ensure you pick up an experienced surgeon.

RISUG:

RISUG or ‘reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance, is a male contraceptive method that is said to last for 10 – 15 years, so it is not permanent contraception but can avoid pregnancy for a long duration.

It works with the injection in the vas deferens which is the vessel through which sperms move before ejaculation. Within a matter of minutes, the vasa are coated with a clear gel and prohibit the movement of sperms completely, hence providing assistance against pregnancy despite sexual intercourse.

Effectiveness: The procedure is 98% effective at avoiding pregnancy and has no major side effects.

Bonus Information:

A new oral pill for male birth control has been developed in 2018, though further research is being carried out about its usage direction and side effects. It is termed as Dimethandrolo undecanoate.

The oral contraceptive DMAU combines the activity of an androgen and a progestin and is taken twice daily. It can be safely consumed by men ageing between 18-50 years.

A research proved that most men would prefer pills over permanent contraception and topical gels. However, long-term studies are currently underway to confirm that DMAU blocks sperm production when taken every day.

Bonus Read: Types of birth control methods for women: Pros and Cons.

Conclusion

Even if you are sexually active, science has provided you with scant options to control your fertility. With a complete thesis on the viable alternatives for male birth control options, it is crucial to pick up the most suitable birth control option for yourself. Keeping in mind your age, the requirements of your partner, your take on parenthood, and most importantly, keeping your health in the safety bracket is the key to choosing the right contraceptive.

If you are sexually active, make sure you constantly keep in touch with an experienced doctor and abide by the given suggestions. To make a wise choice is to pick up the alternative which not only prohibits fertilization but also guards against sexually transmitted diseases.

These given options can turn out to be a wonderful asset when it comes to family planning, Make sure to look out for the side effects of the contraceptives in the longer run. Also, check out the label to ensure it is not constituted of anything that could cause allergic reactions to you. Lastly, visit your healthcare provider on facing the slightest inconvenience.

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