New effective contraception for men will be available soon! So says this New York Times article from 30 years ago.
Every six months or so, we hear a new report about the imminent release of a male contraceptive pill (like this one from last week). And yet, year after year, the weight of contraceptive options is still borne by women.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Dr Marie. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.
Pills, implants, injectables, rings, caps – The Economist has described the contraceptive options available to women as a “trip through Willy Wonka’s Factory”. From my perspective, a trip through Willy Wonka’s factory is a better description of what I eat while I’m hormonal, but the comparison is well made. When it comes to temporary and permanent contraception, women are relatively well-versed in the variety of options that are available.
So, how can men come to the party on contraception?
Er…the list of options is not long. In fact, after condoms, there is only one other reliable option for men: vasectomy. Like tube ligation for women, it’s a permanent form of contraception. But unlike the major surgery involved in tube ligation, a vasectomy is a minor procedure using local anaesthetic that takes about half an hour – and you can drive yourself home afterwards (probably not on a pushbike, though).
“Let’s talk about vasectomy…” Sounds like a conversation killer for couples, right? Not necessarily. Recent consumer research* shows that men are not as likely as you’d expect to shy away from talking about it.
In fact, the majority of men who have had a vasectomy have said that they were the ones who raised the idea with their partners – and predominately it is the men who do the research on the procedure.
It seems when blokes decide to do it, they mean business: it generally takes them less than six months from the initial conversation to having the procedure.
How does it happen? Well the process is pretty straight forward. Men thinking about getting a vasectomy go to a clinic or an out-patient facility at a hospital where an experienced doctor performs the procedure, which takes less than thirty minutes. A local anaesthetic numbs the area and a very small incision is made in the front of the scrotum. Through this opening, each of the vas deferens (sperm tubes) is cut and sealed off. This means that sperm produced in the testicles can no longer travel through the tubes to mix with semen – so the seminal fluid gradually becomes free of sperm.
Upshot: when you ejaculate, there is no sperm in your semen. The bus still leaves the station, but there are no passengers on it.