Birth control’s gender divide

Using one of the many different forms of birth control is an absolute necessity for any sexually active Georgia State student who doesn’t want children at this point in time.
It is true that couples need to communicate and understand their need for birth control, and it makes sense that males should shoulder as much responsibility as females.

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Yet, of all forms of birth control available, men only have a few options unique to them: condoms, the pull-out method (coitus interruptus), spermicidal foam, and vasectomy.  Clearly, there is a disappointing lack of technology in the realm of birth control for males.

Let’s face it:  male contraception is still under development, with methods like RISUG and Vasalgel, agents injected into the vas deferens of the scrotum to prevent the travel of sperm into the seminal vesicle, but they’re not available on the market just yet.  When they are, they will provide a much more effective way to prevent pregnancy.

One such benefit of male birth control is that it will be able to be used in tandem with female birth control, providing the couple with that much more protection against unwanted pregnancy.

Hopefully, as these technologies develop, both men and women will be able to enjoy the benefits and drawbacks of birth control equally, instead of it being just a hassle for women, a frustration which is hilariously turned on its head in this Buzzfeed video.

As it stands now, there are is still a notable spectrum of pregnancy risk associated with all forms of birth control.  Some are more effective than others, but since better male birth control isn’t here yet, it’s important to know how effective the available methods are.

Note: I’m interested in talking about the statistical effectiveness of those birth control methods and don’t wish to make any ethical claims.  The choice belongs to those who wish to use it, and it’s up to them to sort out its ethics entirely on their own terms.

Least effective are the spermicidal foam and fertility-based awareness.  Each of these methods is about 30 percent ineffective, meaning that if they were used for an entire year, there would be an average of 109 days unprotected, leaving pregnancy very likely, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sorry, Roman Catholic Church, but the Natural Family Planning (NFP) method is just not effective on a regular basis, not to say that it was intended for such use.

Surprisingly, however, condoms and withdrawal methods (coitus interruptus or “onanism”) are only slightly more effective than the NFP method advocated by the Catholic Church at 18-22 percent.

More effective are the shot, the pill, the patch, the ring and the diaphragm, which average at about 20 days unprotected.

The most effective forms of birth control are the surgical implants and the sterilization methods, averaging a rate of under one pregnancy per year.

Of course, if you’re looking for a birth control method of your own, you need to look at the risks involved in whatever method you might use, as there are even more risks involved in every single one of them, particularly health risks, like blood clots and the possibility of infertility.

These health risks stand as just another reason that there should be more male birth control options.  Up until now, women have had to suffer uncomfortable doctor’s visits, painful side effects and awkward changes to their body chemistry in the name of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

The discrepancy between male and female birth control options is uncanny; It’s time for a change.

Disclaimer: All opinions are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of The Signal.



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