As it stands now, there aren't a lot of options for men's birth control. While condoms are very effective, they don't provide the variety that there is for women. Women have a few different options, including the pill, the shot, and IUDs, that are all fairly effective.
There was however, one study that found a hormone-based birth control for men that ended up being 96% effective. This study was abandoned because there were "too many side effects".
The study used a shot that was 1,000 milligrams of synthetic testosterone and 200 milligrams of a derivative of the female hormone progesterone. This would cause the body to stop producing sperm and would lower the fertility levels of the men. The study had 320 healthy male participants in monogamous relationships with female partners all between the ages 18 to 45. The injections were given every eight weeks, and they successfully lowered the fertility rate, proving to be nearly 96% effective as a method of birth control.
One of the authors of the study gave a statement of the findings:
"The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraceptive for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it." - Mario Phillip Reyes Festin
However, this study was cut short due to concerns over side effects. The study showed that 3% of men experienced depressive symptoms. This sounds like a fair number, until you realize that between 20% and 30% of women who take hormonal birth control pills experience severe enough depression that they require medication.
They terminated the study after 20 men dropped out during the 26 week process. Most of the men were able to recover fertility fully after the 12 week recovery period, with a few needing a bit more time to regain sperm counts. What others have pointed out, is that none of the side effects experienced by men were as dangerous as those that women face. When a woman takes hormonal birth control, their risks include blood clots and strokes.
The other symptoms men noted included:
- injection site pain,
- muscle pain,
- increased libido and
The symptoms that are common with hormonal birth control for women include:
- Weight gain,
- Sore and swollen breasts,
- Spotting between periods,
- Mood changes
- Abdominal pain,
- chest pain,
- Severe headaches,
- Eye problems (blurred vision)
- Swelling or aching in the legs and thighs
- Blood clots and strokes
Obviously more studies need to take place on both male and female versions of hormonal birth control. If they can reduce the side effects in one, they should be able to reduce it in both. At least we now know that there is at least some hope that men can take a more active part in the birth control aspects of their relationships.