Did you know that almost 15% of all the couples in the UK have problems when it comes to conceiving a child? That translates to about 3.5 million Britons. In the US, 1.5 million women are infertile. However, there are those who are reluctant to have a baby even though they are fertile. More specifically, unintended pregnancies account for 51% of all the pregnancies in the United States. Unfortunately, most men blame their female partners for not having a child when they want one, and for having a baby when they do not want one.
Researchers are wary of this unfair burden placed on women when it comes to birth control. For example, Dr. Behre Hermann of Martin Luther University in Germany has made great strides in developing birth control options for men. Hermann recruited 320 male participants who were between the ages of 18 to 45 years old. These men were either married or in committed relationships with their women. The couples did not want to have a baby at the time of the study. To its end, Hermann gave the men injections of progestin and testosterone periodically.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published this report, which found that the injections given to the men suppressed their production of sperm. More specifically, the sperm count of 86% of the participants dropped to less than one million sperms per milliliter of semen, which is a very low level. The average count is 40 to 300 million sperms per milliliter of semen. Only four pregnancies occurred during the study, which is astonishing given that the researchers studied more than 300 couples.
Testosterone is a hormone that occurs naturally in both men and women. However, it exists in greater amounts in males than it does in females. It is critical when it comes to the maturation of sex organs in men. Scientists can also produce it synthetically. This study shows that injections of it suppress the sperm count.
The other hormone, progestin, exacerbates the suppression of sperm production. When it comes to women, doctors can prescribe progestin pills for those who want to regulate their menstrual cycle.
This study shows that scientists are now onto something that can soon revolutionize contraceptive techniques. These injections had a failure rate of 7.5%. In comparison, condoms and birth control pills have a failure rate of 12% and 9% respectively. However, the injections developed by the researchers are far from perfect yet. For example, 46% of the participants developed acne. Moreover, 23% of them reported pain at the injection site. So the study stopped because the treatment had adverse effects on the health of the participants.