This blog is largely about texting and health and as much as I love to find new and interesting facts and figures about the later, it’s time to start branching out and cover things all reproductive and teenage health related, with some text and technology thrown in (of course). So here we go. Starting today with contraceptives for men….
Steve Owens had always left birth control to his wife, who took the pill. After all, male methods were vasectomy, which he did not want, and condoms, which he described as: “Well, condoms are condoms.”
Then Mr. Owens volunteered to test potential methods that lowered his sperm count so much that “I was not viably able to produce a child,” he said. His count rebounded weeks after stopping each method, and he fathered a daughter between research studies.
“I would definitely do some kind of long-term male contraceptive,” said Mr. Owens, a 39-year-old school social worker from Seattle.
Male contraceptives are attracting growing interest from scientists, who believe they hold promise for being safe, effective and, also important, reversible.
“We have a number of irons in the fire,” said Diana L. Blithe, program director for contraceptive development for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “I think men actually do want to do this.”
While male contraception has been studied before, no method met the stringent safety and effectiveness criteria that female methods do. It was also unclear whether men would use them.
Now, scientific advances are producing approaches that could pass muster. Prompted by women’s organizations, global health groups and surveys indicating that men are receptive, federal agencies are financing research. Some methods will be presented at an October conference sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.