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Male Birth Control: Why It May Never Catch On

Male Birth Control

First Posted: 04/13/12 01:55 PM ET Updated: 04/13/12 02:43 PM ET

The Internet seems to like the idea of male birth control, so why has it been slow to get off the ground?

Stories about a new male birth control procedure spread across social media sites over the last few weeks. The procedure, which requires an injection into the vas deferens, has been found to be 100 percent effective, reversible and safe in humans and animals.

The procedure is in advanced clinical trials in India, but it hasn't gotten much funding to help it reach America and the rest of the world.

TechCitement pointed out that the procedure is incredibly cheap, and its effects can last for up to ten years, so big pharmaceutical companies aren't likely to jump at the chance to market it since it won't make them much money.

But The Hairpin posits that there may be another reason for the lack of interest in male birth control.

Writing for the site, Eleanor Ray notes that the most "international validation" the makers of the new birth control procedure have gotten is a "$100,000 Gates Foundation grant to pursue a variation of RISUG in the fallopian tubes as a female contraceptive."

From Hairpin:

WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? Oh, because the male version is too cheap and easy, and the point of birth control is to control women's bodies. Right.

Ray goes on to posit that pharmaceutical companies might be less interested in pursuing male birth control, expensive or not, because of a perceived lack of interest from men.

But not all men are weary of taking on the responsibility of ensuring no unwanted children are produced. Jezebel found a pledge, which asks male signees to promise to use the male birth control procedure if the FDA makes it available.

Here's the pledge below:

I, ______________, do hereby solemnly swear to utilize any FDA-approved male birth control methods, if and when they become available. This includes (but is not necessarily limited to): pills, balms, salves, therapeutic ultrasounds, and, yes, intra-penile injections.

Signed,

_____________

In a 2011 TIME article, Dr. Peter Schlegel, professor and chair of urology at New York Presbyterian Hospital says men would likely be amenable to taking a birth control pill.

"If it doesn't affect sexual function and it's reversible, yes," Schlegel predicted.