Male Contraception Initiative

Researchers Say More Male Birth Control Options Would Drastically Lower Unintended Pregnancy Rates

The study modeled the impact of male birth control in the United States and other countries.

 

Durham, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/18/2017 --A collaborative team composed of leading researchers across world-renowned institutions published an article analyzing the impact of new reversible male contraceptives. The paper, which is featured in the academic journal Contraception, used conservative modeling to show that new male contraceptives would avert unintended pregnancies by more than a hundred thousand per year in the United States and Nigeria, and by more than ten thousand per year in South Africa.

That breaks down as an overall decrease in the unintended pregnancy rate by 3.5% in the United States, 3.2% in South Africa, and 30.4% in Nigeria. The relatively high result for Nigeria is due to its low baseline of contraceptive use. Using previous results that say men would be willing to use a new contraceptive, the authors modeled the impact of two types of male contraceptives currently in development: (1) reversible vasectomy devices; and (2) daily pills. To avoid overestimating the potential impact, the analysis assumed that, among men who said they would use a new male contraceptive, only 10% of them would actually do so.

The authors are from various research and public health organizations and include the Guttmacher Institute, a world leader in contraceptive research; Princeton University; and Male Contraception Initiative, a pioneer in the realm of male birth control. Future efforts from the group may focus on the potential impact of introducing male contraceptives in other countries.

Despite the clear advantages of introducing more male birth control methods, male contraception is an underfunded and underrepresented research field. Many researchers rely on the support of nonprofits like Male Contraception Initiative to conduct research that would result in a male contraceptive.

One of the authors, Dr. David Sokal, is the chair of the Male Contraception Initiative. He said, "We hope that other funding agencies, philanthropists, venture funds and drug companies will join us in funding development of new male methods. There are a number of promising leads for novel male contraceptives that deserve support." Other authors include Prof. James Trussel of Princeton, who said, "Male contraceptives have endured a painfully long innovation drought. Male Contraception Initiative has the ability to end this streak, which is why it's important to support their work. Future generations deserve stronger gender equity and tighter control over when they begin parenthood."

The article has been accepted for open access publication. It is now available online: http://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-78241730430-4/pdf.