Millions of frustrated men worldwide are still wondering why there isn't a male birth control pill available for those of us who don't like taking showers with a raincoat on.
Women can take a pill that halts their fertility for a certain period of time, so why can't men take a similar pill that just takes the baby-forming abilities out of our sperm for a few days?
The University of Washington's John Amory has the answer and as usual, it's a lot more complicated than one would imagine.
"Before the pill was available, men were the biggest focus of contraception through the use of condoms," he said.
There are two main differences between men and women that make contracepting men more challenging:
1) Men make 1,000 sperm every second from puberty to death whereas women make one egg a month. Suppressing ovulation has proven easier than suppressing sperm production.
2) Women have a period during their reproductive life when they are not fertile, — pregnancy. During pregnancy, high levels of progesterone suppress ovulation preventing a competing pregnancy. The female pill mimics pregnancy by administered progesterone to women, thereby preventing ovulation. Men don't have an analogous period of temporary infertility."
Drat. Why did we have to be so potent all the god damn time? It's clearly far more scientifically challenging (and probably much more expensive) to create a male birth control.
You'd think that these pharmaceutical companies would have plenty of cash to create, test and sell the pill but they probably don't want to risk endangering the insane amount of profit they make off the female birth control pill. As far as these companies are concerned, the system we've got today is just fine and dandy, for them at least.
Looks like we're going to have to wait at least another decade before anything resembling a male birth control pill enters the market.
Sean Levinson | Elite.