Why we need more male birth control options

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People with uteruses have a plethora of birth control options. There are pills, rings, implants and intrauterine devices, or IUDS. There are also hormonal options and non-hormonal options. However, for the other half of the population, there are two options: condoms or vasectomies.

There should be more options for men for three main reasons, according to Dr. Sandra Milligan, head of research and development for Organon, a pharmaceutical company focused on women’s health.

1. Male birth control can help mitigate the overturn of Roe v. Wade

On a panel about gender disparities in healthcare at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in Marina del Rey, Calif. Tuesday afternoon, Milligan shared her interest in male contraception.

“I have a teenage son and I think that family planning is an important, gender-neutral activity,” she said. “I don’t think men have the same options that women do. Until we can come forward with discoveries in male contraception as well, I don’t think we’re going to have the same dialogue that we do now because then it becomes gender bias,” Milligan said. “If we make it gender neutral, then we can have a different dialogue. It doesn’t solve the problem of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but it can help mitigate some of the effects.”

2. Male birth control can create more equality when it comes to choice

“We’re both boy moms and we were talking about how at some point you actually worry more about them because they may not have choice and how can we give everybody in this country choice?” Alyssa Jaffe, partner at 7wireVentures, an early-stage healthcare venture fund, asked on that same panel.

While interest in additional male contraception is there, research has been slow going until recently. But a male birth control pill and male contraceptive gel have both shown promising results thus far.   

3. The demand for male birth control is there

The overturn of Roe v. Wade last summer has sparked renewed interest in additional contraceptive options for men. According to The Cleveland Clinic Center for Male Fertility, vasectomy inquiries have increased 2.5-fold from July 2022 compared to July 2021, as reported by the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

Before the Dobbs decision, one study noted that 70% of U.S. men surveyed between the ages of 18 to 44 were interested in new male contraception and 29 to 71 percent would be open to using male hormonal contraception.

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